30. Prayer does not consist in reciting a set formula. That bears no fruit whatever. You must feel a real want within for what you pray, suffer intense pain and agony so long as your prayer is unfulfilled. You have to be restless to find out the way and the means of gaining the object of your prayer, in spite of insuperable difficulties in your path, and to strive heart and soul to achieve it, as if life itself depended upon it. Only then will your prayer be answered and your heart's desire be fulfilled. Only such prayers reach the throne of the Most High.
31. Highest knowledge, devotion, spirituality—these can only be acquired through great self-effort. One has to struggle hard to win them. Then only do they become one's own, and enduring, filling the mind with joy unspeakable. None can make a gift of these to another. Spiritual practice has to be diligently performed. Then only can Realisation be attained. The degree varies with the intensity of spiritual effort. What is gained without discipline or hard labour loses its gravity, is not highly valued and does not bring happiness earned by hard struggle. Moreover, it goes away as easily as it comes, and it is of little use when we are buffeted by the angry billows of life. In dangers and difficulties, in trials and tribulations, it is swept away altogether. To make spirituality one's very own, means saturating oneself thoroughly in the idea of the realisation of the Self, so that one's nature is wholly changed and an entirely new personality is developed. It is like being reborn again in this very body. Is it child's play? Such a thing is possible only if one is wide awake and strives for it to the utmost, as if one's whole life is at stake. Thus one must continue spiritual practices without interruption and with single-minded devotion as long as the Goal is not achieved.
Source: Paramartha (Parmatha) Prasanga - —Towards The Goal Supreme— Swami Virajanandaji Of Ramakrishna Ashram