The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16)
Whenever there is grievous event like the recent church shooting in Texas, we hear seemingly empathetic reporters and others say, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims". However, there is little comfort or benevolence from their "thoughts", even if sincere, and, in most cases, I suspect that their prayers are not even heard by God.
Why? Because most people are not truly born again Christians, but hypocritical, self-deceived unbelievers and the Bible is clear-- God only hears the prayers of true believers; The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.The righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. (Psalm 34:15-17)Of course self-righteous, unbelievers are very offended when we imply that God doesn't even hear their prayers; We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears Him. (John 9:31)
God does hear and answers the prayers of God-fearing righteous believers, those who belong to Him through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone; And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21:22) Heartfelt thoughts for others may be a nice sentiment and sounds good, but the effective prayer of a righteous man (or woman) can accomplish much. Maranatha!