Some great refutations of prayer from an essay by Robert Gorham Davis:
"I continued to examine, however, the claim that God answered prayers -- not
now with words, though he did this occasionally in both books of the Bible.
Through the centuries since the Bible as a text was permanently frozen, so to
speak, answering prayers has meant a measure of coincidence between what is
asked for through prayers and what actually happens. God remains silent. In a
small-town football game, unless there is a tie, one side or the other has to
win. Correspondingly, if both have prayed, one team or the other necessarily
gets its prayer answered. The same is true of nations at war; some will
triumph or think they triumph, never mind how many die in the process. Others
will be defeated, their prayers unanswered. That they were more pious or
virtuous than the victors is not necessarily the case.
"During my youth I listened carefully when people talked of such things, and
found the discussion blatantly illogical. If a passenger escapes death in an
airplane crash, he confidently attributes his survival to his prayers. If the
crash is total enough -- with most of the passengers dead (though they no
doubt prayed too) -- he and others will call his escape a miracle. When
someone is killed by a so-called freak accident, the word miracle is never
used. That word is reserved for apparent cases of divine beneficience."
And one great, final quote:
"The preacher talks as on a phone where the line is dead."