There was once a chossid of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe that posed to him the following question: “There are times when I do not have time to pray at length, is it therefore possible to accomplish the same objective as praying through the study of texts on ethics?”
The Rebbe responded: “There are two types of receptacles for livelihood. One person does business and makes money in that way and the other person—who does not know how to do business—collects donations from others.
Both make a vessel for their livelihood and both of them receive help from Heaven.
The difference however is, that the first individual has a business that has the potential for wealth. Therefore, when G-d blesses him, he can become a rich man and have all his needs and wants: fish, meat, a beautiful home and comfortable clothing. He can make enough money that he can help his fellow out as well.
The other though, who works in a manner that has little prospective can collect enough money for some bread and herring…
The same too is in regards to prayer:
When a person toils in prayer as Chassidus explains, he can transform into an entirely different type of individual. However, when he does not pray as demanded from him and merely works on himself through texts on ethics, true G-d helps him—but the difference between a person who prays and an individual that merely reads texts on ethics are vast indeed…
(Likutei Diburim, Vol. 5, Pg. 1079)