In a new interview, Niecy Nash recalls how her mother was able to "keep a reasonable portion of her mind, and find joy again" after the shooting

Niecy Nash learned the “power of prayer” early on in life.

When the actress was 15, she watched as her mother’s boyfriend shot her mom, Margaret Ensley, in the back. Ensley survived the incident, but just eight years later, Nash’s younger brother, Michael, was shot to death at his high school over a love triangle. He was 17.

In PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peek at Nash’s episode of UMC’s new docuseries, Behind Her Faith, the star reflects on the tragedy and how she and her mother overcame it by leaning into their faith.

“I probably would say I learned the power of prayer when my mother was shot,” says Nash, 50. “When I saw her laying out in that backyard, shot down like a dog in the street by a man who said he loved her, and what that recovery process was going to have to look like in order for her to be able to come back from that — and then, doubles down, not only are you shot, but now, some years later, your son is shot.”

“Just to try and see how she’s been able to keep a reasonable portion of her mind and find joy again,” she continues. “That is where I really leaned in and could see it, could see the power in that space.”

Niecy Nash
Credit: UMC/
Niecy Nash and Margaret Ensley
Credit: Maury Phillips/Getty

Created by Paula Bryant-Ellis, each episode of Behind Her Faith focuses on a leading woman in the entertainment industry as she reflects on how she overcame difficult moments in life to achieve ultimate success. The series premiered last week with Essence Atkins; future episodes will feature Angelica Nwandu, the founder of The Shade Room, and Aisha Hinds.

Nash’s episode of Behind Her Faith premieres Thursday on UMC, the first streaming service for Black TV and film from AMC Networks.