Well, they're "right"; but not with people's current understanding of "prayer." See, most people understand 'prayer' as "a work-order request-submission to God"---which is SINFUL ... about as sinful as 'using the interjection "god!" in your speech' (i.e. only "criminally sinful" if you know it is). The 'right' understanding of prayer is that it's more like a "meditation on the love & care & righteousness of God (particularly with respect to positive- & negative events in your own life)." (The atheist psychologist would observe that prayer is really just convincing yourself that Somebody has everything planned, and will change those plans at your request if it fits with the aims of His plan.) The reason Lord Jesus Christ addressed prayer (even though it doesn't really change the conditions until you act on it) was that 1) He was asked-to, & 2) we ALL have a prayer-dialogue going on in our heads---a sort of back-&-forth between 'the way things are' & 'the way we move to make things become.' We each have some power over the conditions that surround us, but almost-never a majority. So--in many cases--there IS nothing you can do but pray ... but that's not "telling God what you want Him to do and then folding your arms and pouting until He does it," it's more like "seeing what he's already done for you (in your personal life) and asking him how you can find more of that (and then listening & watching for the answer)."