Abraham Heschel thought of prayer as not an occasional exercise but rather like an established residence, a home for the innermost self.
In his essay On Prayer, he says that all things have a home: the bee has a hive, the bird has a nest. For the soul, home is where prayer is, and a soul without prayer is a soul without a home. Continuity, permanence, intimacy, authenticity and earnestness are its attributes.
I enter this home as a supplicant and emerge as a witness;
I enter as a stranger and emerge as next of kin.
I may enter spiritually shapeless, inwardly disfigured and emerge wholly changed.
We pray because there is a vast disproportion between human misery and human compassion. We pray, he said, because our grasp of the depth of suffering is comparable to the grasp of a butterfly flying over the Grand Canyon.