The Latin phrase carpe diem means “seize the day”, and many people use it in reference to living life to its fullest now rather than continually looking for a better day in the future. However, my grandfather, who was a minister, once made an astute observation about this phrase. He said that instead of seizing the day, we needed to seize the moment…the instance that is immediately in front of us. There is nothing guaranteed for any given day, so “seizing it” is presumptuous. But, we can seize each moment of life that God gives us, minute by minute!
With that said, I used to think that when we prayed in generalities for God to help us that they would somehow be effective in our lives. For years, my prayer had been, “Lord, make me better today than I was yesterday, even if in some small increment.” I have since come to believe that the problem with this type of prayer…this mentality…is that it inadvertently sets us up for failure. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.
By that I mean that is it is too vague. So is, “Lord, help me”; however, we Christians use this phrase and others like it frequently. The reason I say that these types of prayers set us up for failure is that they leave too broad a gap from the time we pray for it to the time we expect it to come to pass. It is distant…always lurking around the proverbial bend in the river somewhere in the future…always in the future. It never addresses the “now” of the moment.