Jesus was not bringing a reform of the present system, nor was he bringing a revolutionary overthrow of the religious establishment and the Roman interlopers. Jesus told an alternative story.
Prayer is that constant abiding conversation Jesus wants to have with us all the time. It is simpler than we could ever have imagined yet more consuming than we can conceive.
Leaves without fruit is the form of religion without the power; going through the motions of "church" without living in the way of Jesus.
The covenant of marriage, which is a fiery hot crucible, is designed to withstand all the chaos human brokenness can bring.