Understanding the Kingdom of God has become more clear living in Thailand that has a culture and language built around the dynamics of a kingdom. This perspective revealed four general positions that the residents of the Kingdom of God find themselves. Each one of these positions access the power of the kingdom differently. The four categories are guest, citizen, ambassador and royal family.
The guest has no rights to petition, they can only request. They operate in this kingdom with privileges and not rights. Any request they make is not guaranteed, but is offered as good will of the nation they are visiting and is temporary. The guest is not above the citizen, nor can assume the rights of the citizen without consent or through a naturalization process (Jesus Christ). This process is not an expectation of the guest, but is still granted under grace of the King of the kingdom. This was clarified when Jesus said in Mathew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says too Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew (intimately apart of) you; depart from Me, you practice lawlessness!'" He was not looking for a way not to accept as He provided a path, but they wanted the benefits of the kingdom without becoming a citizen. This is the picture of a guest operating as a citizen.
The citizen has a birth or naturalized right to the designated resources and support of the laws established by the kingdom. They have rights in court and access to all that is available under the laws of the land. If violation takes place, they have a right to boldly petition the court to act on their behalf. Justice under the law is an expectation. They do still remain subservient to the laws of the kingdom and do not usurp the authority of the ambassadors or officials of the royal family. We can see this in the parable of the woman who petitioned the court in Luke 18:1-8. This widow woman operated in the rights of her citizenship to demand justice. Even though this judge did not regard God or man, he could not turn her away through her constant petitions. Jesus noted in verse 8 that God was not like the unjust judge, but would avenge speedily. The citizen is limited to the authority of the officer or ambassador of the court. This is a picture of the prayer of a citizen.
The ambassador by technical terms is an official of the kingdom that operates usually in another kingdom on behalf of their kingdom. For our definition, they also represent the officials that oversee the decrees or laws of the kingdom they are of. They are a citizen as well, but have the authority to execute decrees and make decisions on behalf of their government within the scope of their designated power. They are backed by the kingdom and their approach to the leaders of royalty or government is in matters of execution of the rights and laws that affect the citizens and the kingdom. They have a higher level of access to the inner workings of the kingdom in order to best operate within their area of influence and authority. The Roman Centurion who approached Jesus in Mathew 8:5-13 as a guest, but he understood how authority worked as an ambassador or officer of his own kingdom. The centurion said that when he said go, those under him had to go, when he says come, those under him had to come. They operated as if the king was making the direct declaration. His word was the power to decree within the scope of his authority and it had to be executed. The word of authority was all that was needed. Jesus also stated in Mathew 16:19, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." He has bestowed on his ambassadors and officials the authority to operate as the agents of His Kingdom as the centurion was of his.
The royal family is at the core of leadership and heartbeat of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the inheritance of the King. As the Kingdom of God is Jesus' inheritance. In a kingdom, there are the designated heirs of the land and the inheritance that emerges from it. A just or righteous king and family will not be focused on themselves, as they already have it all, but rather on the health and well being of the citizens and the kingdom. They are the protectors of the region's borders and the advancement of the kingdom. They raise up citizens to be ambassadors or officials to better serve the interest of their kingdom. They also act in this capacity as well, but the inner court petitions the king differently. They come with great honor, but in the mindset and boldness of family, in order to embrace the heart and philosophy of their father the king. They do not worry about what they are going to eat, what they are going to wear, or how they will make it to the next day. Their thoughts are on how to execute, establish and utilize the influence of their inheritance. They request strength, mercy and the power of the kings grace to operate from their father's heart and perspective. They boldly come before the throne of grace.
In like kind, as God's royal family mature under the King's influence, their petitions focus more on the grand scope of the Kingdom and how to operate from their position within the royal family. Their fellowship is at the Kings table, as they are not outsiders of the family as all the inner workings and intentions are freely disclosed. Their identity is secure and they live outside of inferiority. Their life is at rest and their passions are in the concerns for others. They come to realize what they have, then live and think from that place. They get to observe the King's ways to take on these as their own, as they rule and reign with him. It makes us the kings and lords that the King is over. Proverbs 8:15-16, "By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, all the judges of the earth." Revelation 19:16 says He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Who are these kings and who are these lords? Those of his royal family as he made us sit with him in heavenly places.
It is important to note that a guest is simply a guest and is not connected to the kingdom, but access at times the beneficial laws of the kingdom by temporary privilege. The citizen is not guaranteed a role as an official or ambassador. An ambassador has to be a citizen and has a designated authority, but does not assume the status and intimacy of the royal family, as he or she was not born of the kings lineage. The royal family however, has compassion for the guest, is a citizen, is an ambassador or official and is of the family of the King. This is the position he has has graced us into, as we can not truly see or understand the Kingdom of God without being born again or born into His family.
Salvation through Jesus Christ brought us into be co-heirs with Him and His royal court. The challenge becomes how we think and see ourselves. Depending on the position we see ourselves will determine how we conduct our communication with the Father, prayer. It is important to note, he is not limiting our position, we are. Take time to revisit your thoughts and see how you interact as we see ourselves within His Kingdom that He made us co-heirs of and the benefits he has freely bestowed.
The Father is so awesome, gracious, patient, merciful and loving that he will work with you wherever you have set your mind. It is just that if you are to be the son or daughter of the King, and you live like you are just a guest or a citizen, you may find prayer as frustrating, disheartening and disconnected. Allow the Father to change your view and you will see that not only will your requests change, but the joy and focus of prayer will as well. If you start in prayer about how He sees you, you will probably hear the words, "Come up here!" For He does know why you came to your position for a time such as this.