Patience comes... to those who wait

In every women's Bible study I've ever attended, every week someone's prayer point is for 'patience'. It's usually patience with children, but can also be patience with a husband or in a situation.

I'm willing to pray for it, but I want to know a bit more about it. Does patience magically fall from the sky or somehow get injected into us? What is the process of getting more patience? Is there a more specific prayer we could be praying?

One friend defined patience as 'waiting without complaining'. Is it a case of having to understand the bigger picture so you can cope with the frustrations of the now? Is patience merely another word for delayed gratification? Are there any benefits to patience apart from future ones?

What could be my specific request of God so that I could grow in patience?