David Cameron says he hoped to be as "normal" a prime minister as possible
David Cameron has spoken of the importance of his Christian faith to him while acknowledging that it grows "hotter and colder by moments".
The Conservative leader told the Evening Standard that he did not have a "direct line" to God and did not pray for guidance from the almighty.
But he stressed: "I do have faith and it is important, yes".
In a candid interview, he also said he hoped to live as "normal" a life as possible if he becomes prime minister.
"I believe it must be possible to be a good father, good husband, normal person, a good party leader and, by dint of that, a good prime minister," he told the newspaper.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg caused a stir in 2007 when he said he was not "an active believer".
However, he stressed he had "enormous respect" for people who have religious faith and that he and his Spanish wife were committed to bringing up their children as Catholics.
Former prime minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism after leaving office, said he had avoided talking about the issue of faith while in No 10 for fear of being labelled a "nutter".
Gordon Brown, who is the son of a Church of Scotland minister, has often spoken of the importance of his Presbyterian upbringing and the values that it gave him.
Asked about his religious beliefs by the newspaper, Mr Cameron said: "If you are asking, 'do I drop to my knees and pray for guidance' no. But do I have faith and is it important, yes. My own faith is there. It is not always the rock that perhaps it should be.
"I have a sort of fairly classic Church of England faith, a faith that grows hotter and colder by moments."
Mr Cameron stressed he believed it was possible to live a good life - in terms of being "positive and altruistic" - without having faith.
But he added: "I think the teachings of Jesus, just as the teachings of other religions, are a good guide to help us through."
Organised religions could get "things wrong", Mr Cameron added, but he said he believed the Church of England and the other established churches played a "very important role in society".
Fear of loss
Mr Cameron also told the newspaper of the "permanent fear" of losing a loved one after the death of his six-year old son Ivan earlier this year.
He said his other two children had come to terms with the loss of Ivan, who suffered from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
"They are amazing. They are able to remember Ivan with happiness in a way that adults find difficult."
In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Cameron said he hoped to maintain as "normal" as life as possible were he to become prime minister.
"I am sure although there are security restrictions in your life, you just have to battle for normality. If you spend your life in a poorly-lit bunker surrounded by your aides you are not going to make very good decisions."
He also revealed that he had "genuinely" given up smoking and no longer missed the habit.
"The yearning has gone," he said.