After the non-violent protests began to stir up significant controversy in Montgomery, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr began receiving various threats to his property, person, and family. Shortly before his house was bombed (while his wife and daughter were inside) he’d been up late one night, having gotten yet another phone call threat, and he paced the floor trying to work through the fear and trepidation that would be normal in that type of situation. His prayer and subsequent answer is worth noting as it was the source of divine courage that helped him continue moving forward in pursuit of justice and equality:
The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory:
“Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think I’m right. I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now, I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. Now, I am afraid. And I can’t let people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage, they will being to get weak. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.”
It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying: “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world.”
I tell you I’ve seen the lightning flash. I’ve heard the thunder roar. I’ve felt sin breakers dashing trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me alone. At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before. Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything.
– The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr, pp 77-78