Based on years of original research, Never to Leave Us Alone is the first book-length treatment of the prayer life of the famed religious and civil rights leader. Drawing on personal prayers that King recited as a seminarian and graduate student, preacher, pastor, and then civil rights leader, award-winning historian Lewis Baldwin explains how King turned to both private prayer and meditation for his own spiritual fulfillment, and to public prayer as part of his sermonic discourse, as an aspect of his pastoral care, and as a way of moving, inspiring, and reaffirming people in the context of a crusade for equal rights, social justice, and peace.
In the end, Baldwin argues, King's prayer life and reflections offer important keys not only to King the man but also to our own cultivation of core human values. The book includes photographs.
"This intense probing of the prayer life of Martin Luther King Jr. by Lewis Baldwin brings depth and clarity to the concept of 'praying without ceasing.' In the tradition of an African griot, Baldwin unfolds the story of Dr. King, spirit–filled servant of God, who utilized the power of persistent prayer, plus a constant study of human inequities in an alien land and the search for truth, as all encompassing in the process of 'witnessing for the Lord!' This is not simply another collection of facts about the celebrated 'peaceful warrior.' It is a newly opened window into the heart and soul of a servant–preacher who continues to teach through his understanding and experience of the power of prayer. It should be required of all theological seminarians!" —Melva Costen
Helmar Emil Nielsen Professor Emerita of Worship and Music
Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia
"Lewis Baldwin is superbly qualified to give to us a view of the prayer life of Martin Luther King, the largely unknown, mighty force that propelled this man who led in giving America the opening to become a democracy." —Gardner Taylor
Pastor Emeritus, Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn
"Lewis Baldwin, the foremost chronicler of Martin Luther King Jr., traces his prayer life and its huge, enabling force in the fight for human rights. A wonderful book! Read it, and you will be inspired." —David Buttrick
Buffington Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics Emeritus
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
"At last, I am so pleased to read a book that specifically zeroes in on Dr. King's reservoir of power drawn directly from the prayer tradition of black people, a tradition that I have written about. To a great extent, the recorded history of the civil rights movement has ignored or failed to appreciate that Dr. King's practice of prayer, both personal and corporate, was in fact a historic river of living hope that quite naturally connected with people from every walk of life in a way that could not have happened without this wellspring of black soulful prayer tradition." —Harold A. Carter
Pastor, New Shiloh Baptist Church, Baltimore
"Lewis Baldwin is one of our most valuable interpreters of the life and thought of Martin Luther King Jr. Out of his sustained engagement with King comes this unforgettable portrait of the theologian, prophet, and American reformer at prayer. It is a necessary and long overdue completion of a portrait and one that will be cherished for years to come." —Richard Lischer
Duke Divinity School
Author of The Preacher King: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Word that Moved America