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Since the sages established three daily services filled with general prayers, I am a bit confused as to when exactly one should ask for personal requests?

Are you supposed to simply have the request in mind as you say the shemonah esrei, or during any of the other parts?

Do you do it at other times when you are finished praying? This would seem to defeat the purpose of prayer.

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There's a discussion in the g'mara in B'rachot, somewhere around daf 5-7 IIRC, about the exact time of day when God is most merciful. (That may not help with "when during t'filah" but might point to a particular one of the three daily recitations.) –  Monica Cellio Dec 17 '13 at 15:21
    
after the second yehiyu l'ratzon before ose shalom –  ray Dec 17 '13 at 20:58
    
Wherever you want, so long as it makes sense. –  Double AA Dec 17 '13 at 22:06
    
@ray, should it be verbalized or thought? If verbalized then can it be said in English? –  Ramin Dec 17 '13 at 22:52
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2 Answers

Gemora Avoda Zarah Daf 8a

Said Rab Judah the son of Samuel b. Shilath in the name of Rab: Even though it was said that one should pray for his private needs only at ‘Who heareth prayer,’ nevertheless, if he is disposed to supplement any of the Benedictions [by personal supplications] relevant to the subject of each particular Benediction, he may do so. [So also] said R. Hiyya b. Ashi in the name of Rab: Even though it has been said that one should pray for his own needs only at ‘Who hearest prayer’, still if [for example] one has a sick person at home, he may offer [an extempore] prayer at the Benediction for the Sick or if he is in want of sustenance, he may offer a [special] prayer in connection with the Benediction for [Prosperous] Years.

For a specific request that is within the realm of one of the brachot that have the same theme ( i.e asking for livelihood during birkat hashanim) than that is the correct place to ask.

However for general requests, Shomea Tefila seems to be the appropriate place.

ברכה שומע תפילה הינה ברכה אישית, וניתן לומר בקשות אישיות באמצע הברכה. כך נפסק להלכה בשולחן ערוך, על פי התלמוד: "שואל אדם צרכיו ב'שומע תפילה'".

Source Wiki Shomea Tefila (hebrew)

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O Ch 123 MB 8 says, "It is better to add personal requests after אלהי נצור rather than in שומע תפילה ... " –  Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 18 '13 at 21:55
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The previous British Chief Rabbi (Rabbi J Sacks) wrote an introduction to the siddur called “Understanding Jewish Prayer”. see here for example of the siddur.

In short, he says that there are two types of prayer. One is for an individual with his personal needs and can be at any time.

The other is communal prayer which has fixed times.

This is discussed in Section 2 of his article. (In the communal prayers, the best place to mention one's personal requests is in the section אלהי נצור at the end of the Amidah). See the notes in the siddur.

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