Prayer doesn't work
I pray, knowing it doesn't work, knowing God will not miraculously bend the laws of physics to give me my heart's desires.
If you pray, and something good happens, you say, "God answered my prayer".
Even if the good thing is not what you asked for, you still find an explanation for how God, in his infinite wisdom, gave you just what you really needed.
You make peace with reality and accept your predicament. You probably don't pray for that same thing again, feeling like God answered your prayer in this unexpected way.
If you pray, and something bad happens, you say, "My prayer must not be in alignment with God's will", or, "My faith must be weak", or, "Satan must be preventing God from doing the good thing".
Prayer isn't dependable. It's not scientific.
I admit that prayer may have a beneficial social function. If someone is hurting, and a roomful of people pray for them, they feel loved and cared for. Other people are sharing the joys and pains of their life with them.
Sadly, sometimes people feel like if they don't pray, something bad will happen to them or those they love. Prayer becomes superstitious.
I pray because: maybe God will hear me, and, there seems to be an innate urge for us to vocalize our inner life. Kind of like the urge dogs have to bark when they hear the wind blowing in the trees.
I don't like the gossipy public prayers in which people divulge way too much about their life circumstances or their inner demons. After hearing this for an hour, I go away exhausted.
And people try to outdo one another with their prayers. They even talk about the content of their prayers afterwards, as a topic for conversation. Somehow this seems to violate the purpose and sanctity of prayer.
It's especially meaningful if you pray for a specific amount of money, and a mysterious check arrives for exactly that amount. Hallelujah!
Also, I pray silently if I want to. At one church I attended regularly, they insisted prayer had to be out loud or it wouldn't work. I since learned it doesn't work out loud either.