If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
When praying for a person "makes" their situation worse
Praying for someone in trouble when a God will do what a God will do may be you trying to feel you are helping. Prayer needs to help to be justified. If something does not help then that is bad. It is not neutral - it is bad. It is bad in how help is needed and nothing happens. That is a bad consequence in itself.
Not helping does not necessarily mean making the person worse in any other way apart from that. But what if prayer does more harm than just not helping?What if it makes things worse?
Praying to get something done by God is always about seeking short-term results for there is always something else and sometimes something worse to pray about next week. You pray for the cancer victim to get better. She then has a good week. But then the week after she will be at death's door. See what is happening here. Very sick people usually have better times and worse times anyway. Believers do not really believe when they never ask for the person to feel better permanently. They ask for something safe and temporary or possibly temporart. And when the good thing turns to bad and to a crippling disappointment for the sick person they do not see their own arrogant foolishness and start praying for something else. But they still take credit for any temporary improvement! The sick person does not need people coming along to use their illness to engage in a superstitious and arrogant practice. Imagining that a prayer helps others makes you feel safe for you will use the situation to get "evidence" and the feeling that it is powerful and helps so if it helps Jane it can help you. That is why people like to pray - it is about them seeking self-assurance. If praying for Jane did nothing at all for her people would still feel comforted by praying for her because it is not really about her.
If prayer does not help then it can make the person’s situation worse. If you believe in the power of prayer you have to believe that it might have power in a negative way you do not intend. If you think any good that happens to a person after praying for them is because of the prayer you have the moral duty to think the bad that happens is because of the prayer for ultimately prayer is about asking God to use evil for his purposes. And that is not nice in the sense that God is not us. It is okay for his plan but not for us. If a tyrant knows things nobody else knows and that makes the evil he does inevitable and unavoidable and understandable that does not mean you have the right to support him. You are not him.
The way prayer and the divine plan stuff are intertwined so that prayer is in effect an expression of agreement with God's scary but good and necessary plan is itself immoral. Thus it makes more sense to ascribe the evil that happens to a person you pray for than the good to prayer.
If God always answers prayer in his own way and it can be different from what we ask then the words do not matter. You can ask him to kill your husband. He might need to do it.
God does not need to be told what you need. So how do you get what you ask for in prayer? If prayer works then does God rig all things to fit your prayers beforehand? It has to be that way. So he rigs things and then inspires you what to pray for. That is not prayer working! It is so contrived it is bizarre. It is another example of prayer being an invocation of the irrational and the irrational is dangerous. You cannot expect truly good results from prayer.
What are we to think of people who know that their version of faith in God led to many deaths and wars who pray for those who suffer terribly? They should know better shouldn’t they? They think God revealed their vile religion and dare to ask him to help!! That makes no sense. It is about them being hypocrites.
Prayer is saying there may be an all-good and all-perfect being who keeps all things in existence. If that is true, then what matters is not that a baby dies but doing his will to help the baby. So it is about him not the baby. Look at the may. God may exist. Should you really think you have the right to tell yourself that God has helped when there is no God there to help? That is as bad as believing in a non-existing nurse who will cure you. It is bad for the same reason.
The other mega-problem is that if this being, God to many, is prayed to help somebody you will get the answer but not in the way you ask. If you ask God to help somebody get out of poverty he may respond by killing that person. Society needs to stop feeling happy and comforted by people praying for one another. It is short-sighted in the light of religion's belief that God uses evil for an ultimate good. Jesus agreed so strongly with that he decided to be a casualty for the sake of the greater plan. But the doctrine is so terrible it shows that faith and atheism can both be terrifying positions to adopt. If people are praying in order not to help but to seem pious and caring that is disgraceful.
If prayer is just man-made and if there is no God it has to be just a man-made practice. What is wrong with it being a mere human production? Then man will think man has helped when in fact praying did nothing. And also, there will be bad consequences that are hard to pin on prayer. But they will be no less real.