In our spiritual lives, growth and fruit are often formed through trials. We might describe trials as the chilly seasons of our lives. In fact, in the book of James we're told that the trying of our faith produces patience.
I've heard Christians say that we should never pray for patience because God will answer us by sending trials. I can understand a bit of the logic behind this idea, but I am not sure that it takes into account the wisdom and love of God.
He wants what is best for us and what will bring glory to Him. I cannot believe that He has a stockpile of trouble He's just waiting to pour on us if we pray the wrong prayer.
The Apostle Paul often prayed that his converts and friends would grow in godliness and would bear fruit. Patience is an ingredient of godliness and it is one of the fruits of the Spirit. I cannot find any examples of Paul asking prayer for his friends to develop in all the fruits of the Spirit except patience.
I believe that we can trust God to follow His good plan for us. Trials will be a part of that because we live in a fallen world, but God in His grace and wisdom speaks to us through the tough times, using the chill of trouble to produce beautiful blooms of godliness.
If God has prompted you to pray for a certain character quality, a specific fruit of the Spirit, or godliness in general, rest assured that He is working within you, and He has already arranged and allowed the circumstances that will coax the blooms from your life.
He will be with you every step of the way, whispering His words of love in your ear.
I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge
and every kind of discernment, so that you can determine what really matters
and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:9-10 HCSB)
We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit. (Colossians 1:10-11 HCSB)
...We always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling,
and will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith,
so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him,
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
(This post is adapted from my book Sacred Signposts. More details at sacredsignposts.com)