Rev. Susan Sparks

A trial lawyer, turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Rev. Susan Sparks is America’s only female comedian with a pulpit. Currently, the Senior Pastor of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City (and the first woman in its 165 year history), she is also a professional comedian touring nationally with a standup Rabbi and a Muslim comic in “Laugh in Peace."  Her book, Laugh Your Way to Grace was named one of the best spiritual books of 2010 and has sold over 15,000 copies.  More information can be found at

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On Scripture: Power of Prayer ... at Kmart

by Rev. Susan Sparks 07-24-2013
Screenshot from video 'How We Pray'

Screenshot from video 'How We Pray'

When I want to remind myself of the power of prayer, I go to the Astor Place Kmart on the lower east side of Manhattan. Sure, I could read Kierkegaard or Augustine, but I prefer the Kmart. Specifically I favor an area in the far back corner of the basement. It is devoid of windows or natural light with a back wall of clear glass that faces the dungeon-like dark tunnel of the Number 6 subway train. There, you will find the most unexpected of things — like a plant nursery.

Sprouting out of this dreary prison are tender green leaves of ficus trees and the vibrant gold blossoms of marigolds. A tiny plastic tab peeks out of each pot with an image of what that particular plant could grow into if it received proper light and care; a cruel irony, as there is little hope in this place that such care or light will be offered. Even amid the bleak circumstances, these tiny members of creation still struggle, every moment of every day, to tap into the energy around them so that they might grow into that potential.

In short, they pray.