By Fr James Manjackal M.S.F.S
Select a best time for your personal prayer and include it in your schedule. Let it be the best time when drowsiness, tiredness or calls from outside do not disturb you. For most people early morning is the best time. Try to pray every day at the fixed time that it may become a habit in you. How wonderful it is if you can meet the Lord at the same time every day.
What is Personal Prayer
Personal prayer is not reciting prayers from some pious books, it is not saying the rosary, or reading the Bible, it is not time to pray for others, it is not to pray before a picture or a statue.
It is you and your God alone; it is closing the door of your eyes and ears and entering into the sanctuary of your heart where you meet the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
Praise and Thank God continuously
It is good to praise and thank God for sometime to enter into personal prayer. Where there is praise there is God! Enter His presence with praise and thanksgiving. Have a lot of praises and thanksgiving during your prayer. Praises will keep you away from distractions and bondages that come from the evil one.
Once you are in His presence surrender yourself before Him with small songs like Father I adore you, lay my life before You (Son and Spirit) . Anyone in the presence of the Lord will feel his unworthiness and unholiness to be in His all Holy and Almighty presence. Hence one must spend little time asking God pardon and mercy for the sins committed.
You must experience the compassionate and merciful Heart of Jesus from where the Living Water flows into your heart washing you and cleansing you and giving you a new heart (Ez 36:26). After receiving His pardon and after having reconciled with God and having forgiven all, you must again thank and praise God for His goodness to you. Forgive everyone and be reconciled with all in your heart (Mk 11:25)
Healing and Release of all Bondages
Spend sometime in asking the Lord to heal you from your past wounds of the heart and of the present. Bring all your wounded memories to the Lord and get yourself healed by the wounds of Christ. By His wounds you are healed (I Pet 2:24).
Present your hurt feelings, your feelings of rejections, unlove, fear, anxiety, inferiority complex - all negative experiences to the Lord s wounds and claim your healing of the heart. Present the scars of your past sins, guilt, sadness, etc. to Him and claim a deep inner peace and joy within. In this precious moment of grace you must get yourself freed from all bad habits and the desires of the flesh so that on that day you will not be conquered by sin.
You will hear Jesus telling in your heart, My grace is sufficient for you (II Cor 12:9). During this time can ask for your own physical healings too if you have any.
After having obtained a new life in Jesus through repentance and inner healing surrender your entire self to the Lord, your heart, your mind, and every part of your body, your plans, your desires, your work, your money, your programs, your travel, your relationships, etc. (Rom 6: 12-19).
Sing loudly in your heart
You can sing in your heart a good song of surrender like All to Jesus I surrender Along with the surrender of your complete self you must ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with power and grace. You may sing a small song to the Holy Spirit. Open your heart to the Spirit and receive the Spirit with all fruits, gifts and charismas (Gal 5: 22-23; Is 11: 2; I Cor 12: 4-10).
This must be the most beautiful time of your personal prayer. Here you will have various experiences of God, like the Living Water flowing through you with love, peace and joy. You may experience the Lord's presence in you with spiritual, emotional manifestations too.
You may, here, have visions; perhaps you may hear the Lord speaking to you giving you guidance and direction. If you have presented a problem to Him, you will definitely get an answer. Through this insight, revelations, words of the Spirit within you, you will hear the Spirit telling you do this, don't do this, go this way, don't go this way, etc.
Personal and Intimate friendship with Jesus
During this most important part of your personal prayer you are entering into a personal friendship with Him. Here you can speak to Him whatever you want like a brother or a friend (Jn 15: 15). Make intimacy with the Lord in your heart.
Commit your life to the Lord
During this time you may make decisions with the Lord for that day so that all you do will be according to His will and plan. If the Lord tells you not to do certain things or to alter your plans be obedient to Him.
Feel and Accept God's Love
Fill yourself with as much as grace possible for you so that you may walk in His grace and love. Have much thanksgiving and praise giving in His sweet and loving Presence. If you spend the time well with the Lord, you will not know how your time has passed with the Lord.
End your prayer with the Sign of the Cross
When you end the prayer you may make a sign of the Cross on important part of your body and entrust yourself to the blood of Christ for protection and care. Thus with much grace and God's love do the works of the day with much peace and joy. If you pray this you will see many blessings of the Lord daily in your life and you will see that the Spirit leads you.