We say things to God that upon reflection, perhaps we don't really mean. It's either that or a naivete that is just downright humorous if not tragic. Here are some examples of what I have asked:
"God teach me patience".
"God, help me learn to be content in all things as Scripture proclaims."
"Lord, teach me discernment. Help me to see things as you see them."
On the surface these look and sound like good prayers. And I'm not really going to try in this post to convince you otherwise. Instead I am going to break down these requests and translate them into more specific language to help you and me both truly understand what we are asking. I am going to take away the ignorance factor and make sure those of us that are praying such things, really mean it.
Asking God to teach us patience is presumably being done because you severely lack it in the first place. It's a problem you've identified via the Holy Spirit or a discerning spouse perhaps and you would like a dose of patience installed in you supernaturally. Ah, if only. Instead God does the logical thing and gives you about 25 challenges to your patience as soon as you say Amen. And let me tell you as one who struggles in this area, you will not enjoy these challenges. At all. And as you are learning...you will fail over and over and over again before you see any progress being made.
Asking God to teach you contentment, again believing He is going to just supernaturally infuse this trait into your DNA is another silly one. A moment of practical thinking should quickly help one, like me, who has asked for such a thing to realize that you are basically telling God you want Him to give you situations that are very tough so that you can practice contentment in ALL things. Contentment is rather easy when things are firing on all cylinders What about when job loss occurs? What about strained relationships or marital issues? What about when illness or injury to you or your loved ones occur. What about when the stress of the day has your attitude at critical mass and just one more thing may set you off?
Asking for discernment and godly sight also sounds good. Except you will soon start seeing (if you haven't already) just how short you have fallen from any kind of declaration of victory over sin. Or victory as a husband & dad (or wife & mom). You will see just how crazy and dark this world can be and how you are part of that nastiness. It can and often is pretty depressing. Thankfully it also means seeing just how loving God is and experiencing first hand how deeply He cares about you.
I suppose what I am trying to say is...be careful what you pray for. Be ready for the lessons to come and throw away the idea that it will come easily. The refiners fire will purify. But it can be a painful process.