New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 30

n e w c h u r c h l i f e : m ay / j u n e 2 0 1 8 By looking at the four basic kinds of sacrifice that formed the core of the Israelites’ religious life, perhaps we can find insights and directions to aid us in our religious lives as we pray daily to the Lord, as well as approach the sacraments. We will examine them to explore four different kinds of prayer the Lord might be asking us to make to Him. Whole Burnt Offering and Habit Prayers The first sacrifice is called the “whole burnt offering” because the entire animal was consumed in the fire of sacrifice. The Israelites were commanded to perform this sacrifice every day, at the beginning and the end of the day. Someone would bring an animal, an expensive animal for important people but a cheaper animal or bird for a poorer person, and they would then kill the animal and burn it entirely on the altar of burnt offering. The altar was thus used every day and the fire for the altar would never go out. No particular event would prompt this besides the turning of the day; the Israelites would do this from habit without any change in their circumstances. To them, the whole burnt offering was a daily acknowledgment of how the universe works: Jehovah was