I’m always amused when after so many years of experience with the English language, I find out that a rather common word is not pronounced as expected. The most recent example is prayer. In contrast to the related verb to pray, which is pronounced as
[preɪ] (listen here),
the noun prayer is pronounced quite differently, namely as
[preə(r)] (BrE), [prer] (AmE) (listen here).
It hence rhymes with words such as heir, fair, or care.