Here are some wonderful precepts from Paramhansa Yogananda on How to elicit a Divine response through the interplay of devotion and meditation:
Discover Your True Nature in Silence
From How to Awaken your True Potential by Paramhansa Yogananda
Meditation is complete relaxation, the only way to know God. You can do everything else but meditate, and you will never find that joy that comes when the thoughts are silent.
You may ask, “How can I be sure there is such a joy as you describe?” This is my testimony: If you practice meditation every day deeply and consistently, you will find ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy within you. With practice it will stay with you in activity and in silence alike, even in sleep. It is a joy that will constantly guide you to right action in everything and will respond to your prayers.
This again is my testimony: Having reached that joy, you will find that other desires become small in comparison. Your consciousness will expand. You will stand unshaken amidst pulverizing trials. The whole world will not be able to lure you to forsake that bliss. You will enjoy all of life in that bliss.
Solitude is the price of God-contact. Knowledge of the laws of tuning the body, mind, and soul radios to God is necessary. But since God is also above law, devotion is necessary to call His attention. The devotional call, if sincere, deep, and continuous, and if supplemented by sincere efforts at deep meditation, will bring a divine response. Devotional demand is greater than law, for it touches the heart of God and makes Him answer His naughty and good children alike. Love causes God to surrender Himself to the devotee.
Don’t be like the baby who stops crying as soon as his mother gives him a toy, but cry unceasingly, like a naughty baby, throwing away all lures and toys of name, fame, power, and possessions, rending the heart of the Divine Mother; then you will find the answer to your prayers. Pray until you are absolutely sure of the divine contact; then claim your material, mental, and spiritual needs from the Most High as your divine birthright.
You must find out what kind of prayer brings a response from God. Purely intellectual prayers give intellectual satisfaction, but they do not bring a conscious response from God. Emotional prayers give rise to excitement, but devotional prayers bring the calm joy of the soul.
To bring a response to your prayers, you must pray intelligently with a bursting soul, seldom aloud, mostly mentally, without displaying to anyone what is happening within. You must pray with utmost devotion, feeling that God is listening to everything you mentally affirm. Pray into the depths of the night in the seclusion of your soul. Pray until God replies to you through the intelligible voice of bursting joy tingling through every body cell and every thought, or through visions depicting what you should do in a given case.
The increasing joy after meditation is the proof that God has answered through the devotion-tuned radio of your heart. The longer and more deeply you meditate and affirm, the more you will be conscious of the ever-increasing joy in your heart. Then you will know without doubt that there is a God, and that He is ever-existing, ever-conscious, omnipresent, ever-new Joy. Then demand: “Father, now, today, all day, all tomorrows, every instant, in sleep, in wakefulness, all through life, in death, in the beyond, remain with me as the consciously responding joy of my heart.”
The joy that comes in meditation is proof of the existence of the ever-new joyous God. Oftentimes when sleep steals over me, I say, “Go away from me, you gross intoxicant; I do not want to lose this joy in your unconsciousness.”
Your whole body changes when you practice meditation frequently, because when you really contact God, all things become harmonious; all things melt into an ocean of peace. But you have to practice the meditation techniques honestly, earnestly, consistently, and continually, in order to have the full consciousness of that supreme force.
The mind must manifest calmness. Where the worries and trials of everyday life are concerned, the mind must be like water, which does not retain any impression of the waves that play on its surface.
Through the practice of meditation, one can achieve complete calmness in the heart, lungs, and other inner organs. When the muscles and inner organs are freed from motion by relaxation, the decay or breaking down of bodily tissues is temporarily inhibited.
Enter into absolute silence every morning, and banish thoughts for several minutes each time. The more you meditate, the more you will realize that nothing else can give you that refined joy but the increasing joy of silence. That joy-contact in meditation is contact with God. Pray deeply with devotion, first for God’s love, then for wisdom, happiness, health, prosperity, and then for the fulfillment of any specific legitimate wish.
The minutes are more important than the years. If you fill the minutes of your life with thoughts of God, you will find the years of your life automatically saturated with the consciousness of God.
Never think of tomorrow. Take care of today and all the tomorrows will be taken care of. Do not wait until tomorrow to meditate. Do not wait until tomorrow to be good. Be good now. Be calm now. It will be the turning point of your life.