How to pronounce pray and prayer

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.

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