Meditation is the art of silencing the mind. When the mind is silenced, then live for God arises. Till then Bhakti does not start.
Doing mantra, kirtan , going to temples, discussions, reading books DO NOT HELP. In those situations, the mind creates and image of God and then it worships that image. It is still a very good thing but it is one step short of actually talking with God directly.
Mantra given by a siddha is very helpful. Discussion with a siddha helps clarify the wrong beliefs. Reading books written by a siddha helps in a similar way.
However meditation is the most direct way. Those who cannot meditate and those who cannot silence their mind have to resort to other methods like above
Thus silencing the mind and meditation is a skill. For an adept yogi , it is as simple as turning off the switch. All he does is close his eyes, his inner purity and the gift of his Guru gives him a direct perception of God and his mind is silenced. That’s all !
A guru loves it when he can find a disciple of that caliber. Such a disciple is very rare. One in a billion or less.
Books will tell you to silence mind and absorb in God but they won’t show you the method. For this you must spend time with a Guru, repeatedly use his help to silence it – and this will take years and years of learning the finer millions of subtle steps – till it becomes a simple technique