You don’t know what it is to be human until you reach old age. Not only does your hand become unsteady when dialing a telephone number, but the mistakes you thought the bank made on your checkbook account turn out to be yours. It is a most humbling experience, and really the best (though not the first) knowledge of what it is to be human.
If you don’t turn to prayer then, you are really hopeless. For prayer is an expression of hope, and those who really have hope are they, lucky in that aspect, who have contact with a greater power than they ever had.
If you pray you don’t need proof that it works. You don’t need the crutches and flowers displayed at Lourdes or Guadalupe, you just know either from your own patient experience or instinct. There is a knowledge that is innate.