Book examines prayer life of Martin Luther King Jr

On Aug. 28, 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech advocating racial harmony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Fortress Press is commemorating the anniversary of this historic event with the release of Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never to Leave Us Alone is the very first and only book-length treatment of the prayer life of Martin Luther King, Jr. While numerous studies of King’s sermons, speeches, and pulpit style have appeared in published form over the last half century, his prayers, attitude toward prayer, and practice of the art and discipline of prayer have been woefully neglected. This little volume, scheduled for release in September 2010, is designed to correct this glaring omission, while also demonstrating how King’s prayer life and reflections on prayer offer infinite possibilities for the cultivation of positive and core human values.

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.

“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,” said David Buttrick, Buffington Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics Emeritus, Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

Lewis V. Baldwin is associate professor in Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University, Nashville. An expert on black-church traditions, he is author of There Is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1991); To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1992), and Toward the Beloved Community: Martin Luther King, Jr. and South Africa (1995).


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