I know God is real, and I've come to discover prayer does help too.
Interesting; I found just the opposite. When I was a programming n00b working on my C assignments in college, and it was the night before it was due and I couldn't figure out why it was crashing, I tried praying, hoping, wishing, random changes to the code, furrowing my brow at the screen, loud cursing, exhaustive special-case-logic, and a dozen other increasingly desperate non-methods to "make the code work" without actually understanding it.
Just before the 4 AM deadline for submissions, the code would still be crashing, so I'd give up, email in the non-working code, and get a poor grade.
Eventually I realized that the only way to get the code to work was to understand what I was doing, and that if I didn't understand something I needed to learn about it (through experimentation, or reading the man pages, or asking a fellow programmer for help, or simplifying the program to make it more manageable, or etc) until I did understand it. Once I understood what was really going on under the hood, the nature of the problem (and therefore its solution) usually became obvious and trivial.
I think it was this more than anything else that cemented my atheism -- the repeated experience of prayer not making a bit of difference, followed by the realization that only the application of logic and observation would lead me to the correct solution.