“Welcome, prayer warrior!” said Dr. Dave Howell as I shuffled into the prayer group on Sunday. As a first-timer, I did not feel the “warrior” part. Far from robust and determined, I lacked extra sleep and enough caffeine. My own ability to boost any whispers heavenward felt a bit feeble, but I learn by doing.

My two-cent theory is that whenever I lack inner strength then I need to be around people who have it in surplus. Here’s another three cents. When I get stuck in my own complaints then it is time to focus on somebody else. Those who endure terrible crises will often say, “Just pray for me. That’s all I need.” In turn, when they offer to pray, it’s not a nicety said in passing. They have heartfelt, get-on-your-knees conversations with God, and I have seen amazing, inexplicable things happen.

Such thoughts were my nickel to admission.

Five of us sat on folding chairs and Dr. Dave handed out two pages of prayer requests - financial ordeals, surgeries, illnesses, cancer, kids in the hospital, and loss of loved ones. I read it and thought, “I didn’t know he had a tumor. She just lost her job?” I marveled at the trust it takes to ask for prayers.

A real prayer warrior sat to my right. He battles cancer and told me that three relatives died recently in a car crash. Another relation, an innocent bystander, is barely surviving injuries from a robbery. To comfort family, he would travel soon to two states. He didn’t blame God at all. No one is guaranteed against suffering or misfortune.

I imagined the double weight of cancer and grief. How did he cope?

As if reading my mind, he said, “You need a real relationship with God to get through these things.” It made me think of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Sometimes the purpose is unclear but God grants what we need – comfort, love, sometimes healing or reaching goals. Believe and ask.

At times I lose the immediacy of my faith and God goes on back burner while I go about my business. Here I needed to re-experience God as a living, all-powerful friend who is on tap 24/7. My spirit gets all muddied up with everyday life, and I forget to ask.

When the praying started, we held the names and needs in our hearts, each person taking a turn to chime in with spontaneous thoughts. No sense of entitlement nor were the prayers rote. It was a gabfest with God, asking for a refreshment of hope, perhaps speeding along recovery, rescue, or success. I wanted to be part of a prayer wave sluicing into dry hearts in the distance, but it was my spirit that that felt newly bathed.

Email Suzette Standring: suzmar@comcast.net or visit www.readsuzette.com She is nationally syndicated with GateHouse Media and is the author of “The Art of Opinion Writing” and “The Art of Column Writing,” both on Amazon.