The phrase “a familiar friendship with Jesus” is apparently from the pen of Thomas a Kempis who encouraged his hearers to enjoy an everyday experience of the Lord.
Richard Foster in his excellent book, “Sanctuary of the Soul - A Journey into Meditative prayer" says that if “we experience the perpetual presence of the Lord…not just as theological dogma but as radiant reality, “He walks with me and talks with me” ceases to be pious jargon and instead becomes a straightforward description of daily life. The reality I speak of is akin to what the disciples felt in the upper room when they experienced both intense intimacy and awe-full reverence”. This seems to align with the intimacy that Jesus Himself seeks from His people as recorded in Revelation 3:20, where Jesus presents Himself as waiting, standing at the door of our hearts and knocking so that “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door”, He will “come in and eat with that person, and they with me”. The onus is upon us! The opening of the door to deeper, more intimate fellowship with Jesus is up to us. We must be ready and willing to take that step that unlocks the door and let Jesus in. He will not force His way into the heart of an unwilling host! We must not however underestimate the difficulty that confronts us when determining to let Jesus in t
o the door of our hearts. John Flavel, the Puritan minister and theologian said “The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be principally fixed upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion, is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion, is to keep the heart with God…Heart work is hard work indeed.” (On Keeping the Heart). Heart work is hard work, but the transformation of the heart is crucially God’s work! Only He can transform the heart and make it a “dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Eph 2:22).
Do we seek a familiar friendship with Jesus? Are we eager to know Jesus at this intimate level? Let us then use the prayer of the Psalmist, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (139:27,28). to use the language of the old hymn writer: "O come to my heart, Lord Jesus! There is room in my heart for Thee."