"Oh, no!" my friend trilled. "Never ever, ever, ever pray for patience!"
You are probably as confused as I was when she delivered this edict to me almost a decade ago. My wise friend's advice finally runs clear for me today. You never pray for patience because the only way you get it is by withstanding and/or out-living a trial.
For instance, you pray for patience with your children. God delivers to you the most mouthy, sassy pants you've ever had misery to cross. You earn your stripes by still helping the little darlings to maturity. The solution: pray for the children to be appreciative of the blessings they are given. See the transference?
In another situation, a friend of my family prayed for patience until she could take time off. Later that day she had the misfortune to get into a car accident and break both her legs. Her six-week convalescence is not exactly for what she prayed. In hind sight, maybe she should have prayed more specifically for time to spend frolicking on a warm, sunny beach. Pray specifically!
Today, I reference Psalm 27:14, "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." In essence, pray for strength and courage but never patience.