Matthew 6:5 Jesus states: "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full."
One of the greatest benefits or rewards of an active prayer life is the relationship that it cultivates with God. In short, prayer is an expression of intimacy. Unfortunately, many have reduced prayer to a time where one can set before God a list of needs to be met and desires to be fulfilled.
While it is true God will meet of needs and we are encouraged to place our petitions before Him, we must not lose sight of the fact that intimacy with Him is above all things to be desired and sought.
This is one reason why Jesus said the hypocrites had their reward in full. They had the recognition and admiration of men for their efforts, but they had NO intimacy with God.
The literal definition of the term "reward" is recompense or a giving back in return. Basically, what we render to God by way of our time, He faithfully renders back unto us.
Prayer is ultimately a way we express our dependence on and submission to God. It is an act of humility and acknowledges our limitations and need for God's help. Could it be that one reason we are actually here on this planet is to understand and live with the conclusion that we need HIm? The point is that God already knows what you have need of before you ask. Asking Him is the act of humility that allows Him entrance into the affairs of your life. Nevertheless, intimacy should be the catalyst that drives us into HIs presence.
I will never forget the principle: prayer produces intimacy. We become intimate with whom we pray with; we become intimate whom we pray for and we become intimate with to whom we pray.