We can preach the gospel, we can pass out good literature, we can invite people to church, and we can employ a host of other legitimate means to extend Christ’s kingdom. But ultimately, as the apostle Paul puts it, “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (1 Cor 3:7, NAS). That ought to encourage us to pray! If success is ultimately determined and achieved by the sovereign power of Almighty God, then what better can we do than to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10, NAS).
Some Christians think that a belief in God’s absolute sovereignty discourages a healthy prayer life. In reality, though, God’s sovereignty provides us with some of the greatest motivations to pray. I’d like to highlight just two of those motivations from Proverbs 21:30-31:
There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.
God’s Sovereignty Keeps us from Despair.
At first glance, verse 30 appears to describe a sinless environment. Only in a world without sin can it be said, “There is no wisdom, understanding, or counsel against the Lord.” Such a condition existed prior to the fall and will exist after the return of Christ. In contrast, we see plenty of opposition to the Lord in our day. In the language of Psalm 2:2, “The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed” (NAS).
However, Proverbs 21:30 is not teaching the absence of opposition to God. Actually, it’s teaching the non-existence of human wisdom, understanding, or counsel that can prevail against the Lord (see NIV, NLT, ESV). It’s expressing the same truth expressed by the Scripture writer in Psalm 33:10-11: “The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation” (NAS).