Prayers, as Sri Aurobindo reveals to us do not work like mechanical methods wherein one prays and gets the results desired. This is especially so when one is asking for the highest things such as the realisation and manifestation of Divine Truth, Wisdom, Bliss. All who have walked the path know and say that it takes years of steady and patient practice even to get some real glimpses. But if one persists then it does come. When it seems to come early it is due to the effort of past lives bearing fruits in the present one. In others where it seems to take time, even longer than expected, it is usually because nature is not yet ready for the authentic Divine Touch. After all, asking for Truth is fine but its manifestation is bound to upset all our present human measures.
Prayers form one aspect of the sadhana, but the yoga proceeds along many lines. For example, Truth demands a scrupulous sincerity, including truth in speech, thought, feelings, actions. So, when we pray for Truth and the Divine sanctions it, – for every prayer is heard but not all sanctioned immediately, the Grace will start preparing the ground for it. We will suddenly become conscious of the falsehoods in our nature, we will feel the pressure of a will within to be truthful, we suddenly meet with quick consequences of lying etc. All this prepares the ground for what we have asked for. Similarly, Bliss needs us to be completely free from pleasure of all forms. Love demands freedom from egoism, selfishness, Beauty needs refinement, Strength requires calm and stability, Wisdom requires wideness. Each is a divine aspect and conscious power and does not come easily in the human vessel that is so impure. Were it to do so our body and mind will break down under the descending pressure. Therefore, it takes time and one has to learn to strive rightly and patiently. To learn to wait is to put Time on our side. To be restless and impatient is to delay things further. Even an intense prayer should be full of trust and patience.
Of course, there are prayers that are answered swiftly even instantaneously, miraculously. These relate to the challenges and dangers of life. These are called aart prarthana. Even prayers related to the sadhana may be suddenly answered, when the conditions are there. But as a rule, higher is the boon one prays for, the more stringent tapasya is needed.