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276 Nigerian girls and 276 saved in Paul's Maltese shipwreck

Someone from our church family, a very good CPA, posted this on our church network:

"As I was starting my devotions last night, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to pray for the 276 girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram. As I began to do so, the number 276 triggered my vague recollection that the number saved after the ship carrying Paul to Rome was shipwrecked on a Maltese reef was around 276. Was it? I read Acts 27, and, sure enough, all were saved and the number was 276 (Acts 27:37). Paul prophesied in verse 34, “… for not a hair from the head of any of you shall perish.” And it was so (v. 44): “And thus it happened that they all were brought safely to land.” I encourage you to pray that it will so for the 276 girls."

I responded:

"Very cool. It would take the mind of a gifted accountant to recall this. This is not numerology or some kind of mystical assurance. It simply points toward a direction to pray from scripture: "Not a hair from the head of any" will perish (Acts 27:34), and that "all [will be] brought safely" home (27:44).

There may be a few other "prayables" in the text: 

• Why not pray that there will be visitations of angels in the night, as happened with Paul in this story (see Acts 27:23-25)? 

• From the words of this angel, we can take encouragement to pray for everyone, as Paul must have been praying: "God has granted you all those who are sailing with you" (27:24). 

• Let's pray that among these captive women there will be spiritual gifts of encouragement and faith, "keep up your courage...for I believe God" (27:25); and, "all of them were encouraged" (27:36). 

• The story might also help us pray that rescue operations don't provoke their captors to murder them, as almost happened in this story: "The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none would…escape" (27:42). 

• We might also pray that there will be sufficient food and other provisions for them (27:33-34). 

• Let's certainly pray that Christ will be honored and thanked in the presence of all (27:35)."

Whether we use the Maltese cross-reference or not, let's keep praying.

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Comment by Darnice Herrera on May 15, 2014 at 6:20pm

Steve,

Thank you so much for this message.  My heart and prayers are with each girl and the country.

Darnice

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