The War Prayer by Mark Twain is one that invokes deeper thought than at first glance. When I was a college student preparing to become a teacher I was required to make an analysis of the essay, albeit subjective .
I'm not now a praying person but at the time I was struggling with my desire to understand the falsehoods I had discovered in religion and the teachings of my parents. I wanted to believe there was a god watching over me and that he would hear and answer my prayers.
The absurdity of prayer became crystal clear when, as in Twain's work, I took the time to consider the prayer and its implications. The youngest student in science learns early, Newton's third law of motion. Simply stated, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Now consider the act of praying...if, and I don't believe it is possible, there were a god who listened and answered prayers, what kind of god could he be? How would he decide who's prayer is answered?
Perhaps, Christians will say that righteousness wins out, that he who is good and obedient will ultimately, gain their reward. But may I propose:
Country A and Country B are at war.
Two very devout and pious mothers, each righteous and obedient, pray for the success of her son in that war. One, the mother of a soldier fighting for Country A; the other praying for her son from Country B. By all reason they are each deserving but how can they both receive that for which they ask? And, why should they? They are praying two prayers; one articulated to save her son and the unsaid prayer to destroy the other mother's son.