Prayer changes things because prayer changes us. As we come to God with prayerful attention the repeated encounter changes us from the inside out. As changed people we respond differently to our surroundings and to the people in our life. We gain different values and seek different goals.
I remember a wise woman once telling me that as we pray God gives us the desires of our heart because our hearts begin to desire what God wants. He takes our selfishness and uses it to his advantage.
Prayerful people are softer, they have a tenderness about them because they have received tenderness from God. Don't confuse this for timidity or passiveness. Rather it is a deep strength that comes from not needing to prove oneself.
Loving attention on Christ is a good prayer practice, one that asks for no rewards save from the joy of giving our attention to Christ.