At sundown on September 25th, the most somber of all the feasts of the Lord begins. The Day of Atonement (or in Hebrew Yom Kippur) was a gift of God’s grace to the nation so the High Priest could confess, repent and make atonement for their national sins. Atonement for their personal sins was expected to be made on every other day of the year.
The Biblical mandate is found in Leviticus 23:26-32 and explained in detail in the entire chapter of Leviticus 16.
Over the years a tradition developed. “Days of Awe,” are the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During these ten days the people prepare to stand before God in judgment for their sin. Thus the focus is reflection on their sins, confession, repentance, restitution and righteousness.
Therefore our prayers also will focus on the righteousness and redemption provided by God.