Today, as I searched for information about those killed in Oklahoma, I saw page after page on the internet with comments from people about how to react. There were some that said "Let's remember the victims in prayer." There were a great many more that said "Prayer is useless."
"Prayer is useless" is the new trending sentiment in our country. It breaks my heart. The basic argument is that God never answers prayers, and the ones that seem to be answered are just coincidence. “Prayer is useless," is the declaration of the unbeliever, and he will not be convinced that he isn't right. We've seen this kind of person before:
And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!" So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. Mark 15:29-32
They did not want to believe. Remember, though, Jesus had already admonished his disciples: Don't you think that I could call on my Father to send more than twelve legions of angels to help me now? How, then, are the Scriptures to be fulfilled that say this must happen?" Matthew 26:53-54
There will always be mockers. There will always be adversaries to the Cross. Some will open their eyes, when they see God's love on display. One centurion did. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" Mark 15:39
Yes, God hears our prayers and answers. It is not a wasted exercise, even if there are those around us who have eyes and do not see.