For those tempted to disdain prayer in favor of work in alleviating the ills of the world, I recommend C.S. Lewis’ essay, “Work and Prayer.” There he writes, among other things, “Prayers are not always—in the crude, factual sense of the world—’granted’. This is not because prayer is a weaker kind of causality, but because it is a stronger kind.”
From of old prayer has been recognized, in John Calvin’s words, as “the chief exercise of faith,” and the means “by which we daily receive God’s benefits.”
Denunciation of prayer is a call to atheism; lack of prayer is a form of practical atheism.
For more on work and prayer, check out this commentary on the parable of the lost coin, lost sheep, and lost son.