From the Wisdom Legacy of Paramahansa Yogananda
Even true devotees think sometimes that God does not answer their prayers. He does answer silently, through His laws; but until He is absolutely sure of the devotee He will not answer openly, He will not talk to the devotee. The Lord of Universes is so humble that He does not speak, lest in so doing He influence the devotee's use of free will to choose or reject Him.
The Omnipresent God knows all His true devotees, no matter in what form they love Him....[and] answers their prayers in many ways. Devotion shown to God always evokes some form of plain or mysterious response. No true devotee is ignored by God.
God Responds Through Fulfillment of Desires
A prayer that is strong and deep will definitely receive God's answer.…At one time or another, everyone has found some desire fulfilled through prayer. When your will is very strong it touches the Father, and the Father wills that your desire be fulfilled.
Sometimes He answers by dropping a thought in the mind of another person who can fulfill your desire or need; that individual then serves as God's instrument to bring about the desired result.
Sometimes His Response Is "No"
People think God doesn't respond to their prayers because they don't understand that God sometimes answers differently from what they expect or ask for. He will not always answer according to their wishes until they have fulfilled His desire for their perfection.
Sometimes it is very good that we do not receive what we think we want. A child may want to touch a flame, but to save it from harm the mother does not grant the child's wish.
Experience of Peace and Joy Is God's Response
If you repeatedly call on Him with ever deeper concentration, He will answer your prayer. A joy and peace will strike your heart. When that comes, you know that you are communing with God.
To utter "God" with devotion, and increase the concentration and devotion with each repetition of His name, is to plunge the mind deeper and deeper in the ocean of His presence until one reaches fathomless depths of divine peace and ecstatic joy, the sure proof that one's prayers have touched God.
A subsistent inner happiness unconditioned by any external influence is evident proof of the responding presence of God.
God's Response Can Come as an Intuitive Solution to a Problem
There are two ways in which our needs can be taken care of. One is the material. For example, when we have ill health we can go to a doctor for medical treatment. But a time comes when no human aid can help. Then we look to the other way, to the Spiritual Power, the Maker of our body, mind, and soul. Material power is limited, and when it fails, we turn to the unlimited Divine Power. Likewise with our financial needs; when we have done our best, and still it is inadequate, we turn to that other Power.…
When we are hit with difficulties we react upon our environment first, making whatever material adjustments we believe may help. But when we come to the point of saying, "Everything I have tried so far has failed; what to do next?" we start to think hard about a solution. When we think deeply enough, we find an answer within. This is one form of answered prayer.
Remember, greater than a million reasonings of the mind is to sit and meditate upon God until you feel calmness within. Then say to the Lord, "I can't solve my problem alone, even if I thought a zillion different thoughts; but I can solve it by placing it in Your hands, asking first for Your guidance, and then following through by thinking out the various angles for a possible solution." God does help those who help themselves. When your mind is calm and filled with faith after praying to God in meditation, you are able to see various answers to your problems; and because your mind is calm, you are capable of picking out the best solution. Follow that solution, and you will meet with success. This is applying the science of religion in your daily life.
God Responds by Surcharging Your Own Will Power for Success
Pour forth will power continuously through constructive actions. When you persist, refusing to accept failure, the object of will must materialize. When you continuously work that will through your thoughts and activities, what you are wishing for has to come about. Even though there is nothing in the world to conform to your wish, when your will persists, the desired result will somehow manifest. In that kind of will lies God's answer; because will comes from God, and continuous will is divine will.