The first and most fundamental virtue in effective prayer is faith. A belief in God brings peace to the soul. An assurance that God is our Father, into whose presence we can go for comfort and guidance, is a never-failing source of comfort.
Another essential virtue is reverence. This virtue is exemplified in the model prayer given by the Savior in the words “Hallowed be thy name.” [Matthew 6:9.] This principle should be exemplified in classrooms, and particularly in our houses of worship.
The third essential element is sincerity. Prayer is the yearning of the spirit. Sincere praying implies that when we ask for any virtue or blessing we should work for the blessing and cultivate the virtue.
The next essential virtue is loyalty. Why pray for the Kingdom of God to come unless you have in your heart a desire and a willingness to aid in its establishment? Praying for His will to be done and then not trying to live it, gives you a negative answer at once. You would not grant something to a child who showed that attitude towards a request he is making of you. If we pray for the success of some cause or enterprise, manifestly we are in sympathy with it. It is the height of disloyalty to pray for God’s will to be done, and then fail to conform our lives to that will.
A final essential virtue is humility. … The principle of humility and prayer leads one to feel a need of divine guidance. Self-reliance is a virtue, but with it should go a consciousness of the need of superior help—a consciousness that as you walk firmly in the pathway of duty, there is a possibility of your making a misstep; and with that consciousness is a prayer, a pleading that God will inspire you to avoid that false step.
David O. McKay, in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, (2003), 70–79