Many people give god the credit for various good things that happen. From winning a game to getting a new job, people often thank the almighty. Since both good and bad people get lucky breaks and things frequently come in ways that were not expected, god is said to work in mysterious ways. However, when one really stops and looks at the way things happen, these ways can seem incomprehensible and immoral if prayers truly are answered.
Many of those who publicly thank god for their successes, from professional sports players to world-famous actors, are not necessary the most deserving people and certainly not the neediest. Why would god arrange for someone to do well and win a sports game or an actress to get an Academy Award (and therefore work against those who do not make it), while some children live very short and brutal lives? Should not relieving pain and suffering, wherever it may be, take preference over helping some people succeed and others fail?
Of course, some might argue that god is not, in fact, helping those people and does not intervene in human affairs. If that is the case, why would prayer be a part of religions? If prayer is not answered, why have prayer? This appears to be something religion has gotten wrong.
Many people feel with all their hearts that god answers their prayers. However, this is never done in a way that can be proven. People pray for rain or other things, and they come. More telling very few trust prayer enough to rely on it entirely to cure them and also seek medical help. This is for a good reason since studies have proven that sick people who have others pray for them do not do any better statistically than those who do not. In addition, none of the other help that people sometimes attribute to their praying can ever be proven to come from the power of prayer. There are a lot of factors at work in the world, and rain falls, people get jobs etc. when they are not praying too.
If there is a god and that god is telling people to pray, it seems logical to expect the power of prayer to be very evident. Especially if this god is extolling people to worship him, it would seem rational for that god to want his power to be known. There should be clear evidence that prayer works if it has any meaning. On top of helping so many people in their lives, it would attract others to religion. For whatever reason, this does not appear to be how any god works.
Are people really being helped by prayer or are they being fooled? The fact that prayer does not help those who need it most combined with the complete inability to demonstrate its power in an objective way are very powerful indicators it does not mean anything. Therefore, billions of people, quite sincere in their beliefs, are devoting a lot of time and hope to something that has no meaning. If there is a god, he obviously does not play favorites to anyone just for praying (and an all-knowing god would know what they need regardless). Things come to those who pray in the same way they come to those who do not. It is all about chance and most importantly the things people do. While people might attribute getting a new job to prayer, a closer examination will find factors such as their education, experience and networking efforts were what really made the difference.
For people to say that god helped them win a game, get a job, receive an award or anything else, while far needier people are living short, miserable lives, has a lot more to do with human arrogance and wishful thinking than any other factor. A god that is not intervening to stop children starving is surely not intervening in the job market or anything of the kind.
In addition, there are those who do bad things after prayer. Suicide bombers are very sincere in their beliefs and certainly pray. They feel their prayers are answered and think they are doing the right thing. If god is not even stopping prayer from being used in a bad way, there is no reason to expect him to use it for good.
Regardless of if there is a creator out there or not, one thing is clear. What happens in this world is up to human effort. Less time praying and more time doing things that will cause a change the world needs.