Prayer is not a type of magic. Prayer is a certain vulnerability and openness. It is recognizing that you are not an orphan of the universe, but are an intersection of thousands of invisible threads. You are an expression of the mystery out of which everything comes. Praying is aligning the pulse of your body to the pulse of nature. It is aligning the intelligence in your head to the intelligent web that runs through not only you, but the whole of reality. It is remembering you are part of a larger life.
Jesus taught before the edifice we now call the church was built. His concern was much more basic than that of many theologians. He wanted to teach us how to tune our hearts to the common life. His teachings can be helpful whether or not one becomes a Christian. I don’t think he would have the slightest interest in converting anyone to the institutional church, although some kind of community is indispensable for deep living, so he wouldn’t be against the church either, so long as the church teaches universal love and not sectarian dogma.
For some people, prayer is a conversation with God, to others, who don’t believe in God, it is more like a reverent awareness. Whether your prayer consists of words or of attentive silence, pray until the shallow concerns you have reach a depth that includes compassion for all beings, and acceptance of reality as it is. When you rise from that prayer, you will have the heart that Christ had, and the mind that Christ had. And you will know that your prayer has been answered whether you become a Christian or not.