If you don't believe in God
Why do you care if I pray to him?
Nevertheless, I'm going to pretend that the question is an honest one and do my best to answer.
Dear Pastor Seidel,
You ask, if I don't believe in God, why do I care if you pray to him?
The simple answer is, I don't. Neither I, nor most of the atheists I know, give a damn one way or another. I personally wouldn't waste my time with that particular activity, but then there's a lot of activities that others enjoy -- such as stock car racing or listening to Celine Dion -- that I consider a waste of time and don't participate in. If prayer makes you happy and gives you some consolation, go right ahead. You don't need my or other people's approval to pray to your god -- be my guest.
It's not your prayer I'm concerned with. It's not even your beliefs, which I think are irrational. Lots of people have silly and irrational beliefs.
No, what I'm really concerned about is the actions your irrational beliefs might lead you to take. If your beliefs cause bigotry against black people, I'll oppose you. If your beliefs cause you to deny equal rights to gay people, then I'll oppose you. If your beliefs cause you to suppress the teaching of scientific theories like evolution in public schools, or deny the problem of global warming, then I'll oppose you. If your beliefs cause you to prevent sex education, and instill in young people an unhealthy view that sex is somehow "sinful", then I'll oppose you. If your beliefs result in anti-Semitism, I'll oppose you. If your beliefs cause you to work to further entrench Christian privilege in North America, then I'll oppose you.
I'm not saying you do any of these things. I know that Baptists are a very diverse bunch. Maybe you marched in solidarity with black people in Selma. Maybe you welcome gay people in your church. Maybe you conduct same-sex weddings. Maybe you acknowledge the truth of evolution and global warming. Maybe you warn your flock about the sin of anti-Semitism. If so, more power to you. We can join hands and work together.
Speaking of Christian privilege, I hope you're not one of those theists who think they can violate the separation of church and state by having teacher-led prayer in public schools, or forcing non-theists to listen to sectarian prayers at the beginning of government meetings. Not only is it not respectful of those whose beliefs differ (and there are lots of us), it's not constitutional, either.
Do I think we'd all be better off if you didn't pray? Probably. There are a lot of societal problems that won't be fixed by prayer. As a famous agnostic once said, "The hands that help are better far than lips that pray."
Still, I'll repeat myself: pray all you like. Neither I, nor most atheists, care. But we do care about your actions when your irrational beliefs take you down roads that adversely impact other people's rights, and create policies that are bad for non-Christians and bad for society. When you do that, suddenly we care. We care a lot.