Have you ever been surprised when God actually answered your prayer? I have. Yet that is a lack of faith. And the Bible tells us that our prayers can be hindered by a number of things, including a lack of faith.
There is no question that faith is a key element in effective prayer. A lack of faith will hinder prayer, and the Bible tells us that when we pray, we are to:
Ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:6–7)
Jesus, on one occasion as recorded in Mark 6:5, could do "no mighty work" in a city, because of the unbelief of the people. In other words, God wanted to work, but the unbelief of the people hindered Him.
And we can remember countless stories in the Gospels of people who were commended for their faith. Yet at the same time, because of the extremes that people have gone to with this truth, I need to qualify my statements. Yes, God does want us to have faith, but it isn't entirely dependent upon our faith. Realistically, how much faith did Lazarus have when he was raised from the dead? About none, I would say. So whose faith raised Lazarus? It was the faith of Jesus.
My point is that faith is an intrinsic part of prayer, but it doesn't entirely depend on us. We need to find the balance. Yes, we need faith, and we should pray with as much as we have. Yet at the same time, God can do a lot with a little.