"Cornelius stared at him in terror. 'What is it, sir?' he asked the angel. And the angel replied, 'Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!'"
Our actions and disciplines, such as prayer and giving to the poor, are not a means of salvation in themselves, but they do put us in a position where God can work more in our lives. Cornelius was following God as well as he could, given what he knew. God honored that and arranged to bring him into more of the truth and experience of God's reality. Take heart that God sees and will reward your faithfulness in disciplines such as reading his Word, praying, and walking in obedience. The reward will be more of himself.