For many years, people prayed this out of defeat because the big bad world was out to get them. But it's actually a very Biblical, progressive thing to do and pray... if it's done with the right spirit. And I think it comes down to the idea of "Home.
Home is a pretty intangible thing. I asked the question on Facebook and Twitter recently, "What does 'Home' mean to you?" and I got answers from the very ethereal to the awesome, "the sounds of my Mom piddling around the house". The reality is that "home" means different things to different people, but it's rarely actually as peaceful and Utopian as we remember it being (or wish it was).
The Jewish people have a saying and prayer that binds them together. "Next year in Jerusalem". It's an interesting read to hear the reasons why scholars say the post-Yom Kippur prayer exists... but it's basically because Jerusalem WAS home and will be again... even though it's not there yet.
Rabbi David Hartman says something very interesting about it.
“The Exodus introduces the dimension of a radically new tomorrow. That is the idea of Messianism. The belief in a Messiah proclaims a radical futurism; a new separate concept in human consciousness of time. Life is not exhausted by endless cycles. Once our story is told as our beginning through revolution, then history is a wide-open book”
In short... hope that comes from home.
Remembering Jerusalem as what it was and believing that there will be such a home again is very Christian too. In Psalm 137, David remembers and loves on Jerusalem during hard times of mockery because he needs hope.
1-5 Alongside Babylon's rivers we sat on the banks; we cried and cried,
remembering the good old days in Zion.
Alongside the quaking aspens
we stacked our unplayed harps;
That's where our captors demanded songs,
sarcastic and mocking:
"Sing us a happy Zion song!"
4-6 Oh, how could we ever sing God's song
in this wasteland?
If I ever forget you, Jerusalem,
let my fingers wither and fall off like leaves.
Let my tongue swell and turn black
if I fail to remember you,
If I fail, O dear Jerusalem,
to honor you as my greatest.
The fact that there IS a hopeful home coming (but that we only get a taste of today) something that God uses to draw us forward. Apologist Alister McGrath says,
"We're an empty jar that is conscious of our emptiness and knows it should be full. Our aspirations basically fall short as we try to create beautiful worlds so that you fall short so that we MUST look beyond us. It's about the gospel making sense of human longings... opening our mind and heart so that we let him in"
2 Peter 3 masterfully makes a number of key points
1) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise
2) He doesn't want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
3) You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
4) In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness
We're SUPPOSED to look forward to Jesus coming back. The fact that it's talked about it so close to the verse that says that God doesn't want people to perish... says something. Often, those of us who are focused on sharing the Good News with the world actually want to hold off on this whole second-coming thing so that more good can be done. But God's Kingdom coming is important to be prayed for... because HE wants it to be done too.
The last thing John in Revelation wrote was:
"I Am Coming Quickly He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all Amen"
Even so... come soon Lordy.
3 Things I take out of this.
1) God is coming soon and it's a GOOD thing! Look forward to things getting better both HERE and THERE! Keep sowing seeds!
2) When you get tired, there IS just enough of a taste of the hope found from home to be found right now... and even better later!
3) The story has yet to be told... don't grow weary in doing good because HOME is coming