A Night at the Prayer Chapel Changed My Life

by Abigail Reed

"I always knew about God, but there was something different about the people I was serving alongside. They seemed to not only know about God but truly know Him in a personal way. This changed everything for me and I began the slow and at times uncomfortable journey of pursuing God daily and in community at APU."

Like many who grew up in a Christian home, Mary Browning ’21 always knew about Jesus and accepted Him into her heart in kindergarten. When she was a sophomore in high school, Browning traveled with APU’s Mexico Outreach to serve and was challenged by the Holy Spirit to step into a deeper, more personal faith. Although it wasn’t natural at first, Browning listened to the call, pursuing daily time with Jesus and plugging into a local church youth group.

Browning carried this obedience with her as she arrived at APU during spring semester, when the bustle of fall welcome weekend was in the past and most freshman were already settled in their dorms. One week into school, on a Tuesday night, God spoke. He told Browning to visit the Hartwig Prayer Chapel—a quiet space on campus for students to pray and reflect—and Browning reluctantly went. To her surprise, APU students were gathered in the chapel worshipping. These students, a revival group called Wildfire Worship, soon became Browning’s best friends, and she joined their leadership team.

“Entering the APU community as a freshman during spring semester could easily have been a challenging experience,” said Browning. “But on a quiet weeknight, God provided me with a faith community—people to learn from and grow with.”

Now a junior at APU, Browning’s faith continues to flourish. As a student employee in the Office of Spiritual Life, Browning trains action team leaders and learns from APU’s professional staff, as they live our their Christian mission. This coming year, God has called Browning to disciple women in leadership positions, providing a restful space for them to encounter Jesus. As an interdisciplinary studies major, which involves a blend of religion and teaching English as a second language, Browning hopes to teach and serve overseas.

This article is part of a series that features the inspiring faith stories of APU's students, faculty, and staff. If you are a member of the APU community and would like to share your faith story, contact Rachel White at [email protected].

Abigail Reed is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a liberal studies major with an honors humanities minor.