Chafing wooden stocks clamped around their ankles kept them hunched. Every movement brought torture to their bloody, beaten bodies. Nevertheless, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God. Beyond them, unseen, other prisoners listened.
From that hideous experience, the scars of which likely remained a long time, and maybe perpetually, the Christian missionaries influenced the unseen audience. Whether any of them became Christians, the Philippian jailer and his family did. Acts 16:16ff.
Aboard ship, as a prisoner of Rome, Paul witnessed to a defeated, hopeless, helpless audience. They could all take courage because God’s angel had promised the life of everyone aboard. Then, having sounded and found 120 feet of water beneath the ship; and later, sounding again, found but 90 feet, water-wise sailors knew disaster awaited and tried to flee in the lifeboat. Only Paul’s intercession with Julius kept them aboard. Then, with the ship aground on a sandbar, being beaten to pieces by the waves, the soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners, knowing their life would be expendable should any of them escape. Paul’s intercession again with Julius saved the whole passenger list.
We don’t know the number of sailors and soldiers aboard to run the ship and provide security. We do know the ship carried 276 people. (Not the biggest number in Roman ships by far.) Of that number the vast majority believed Paul’s witness.
The point is, we can never tell if we influence none, a few or many. But nearly every situation will have someone watching, listening or both, and ready to be convinced. Even a chance remark can have an impact, as a noted atheist’s positive remark about God turned a young C.S. Lewis around. Let us take courage and say what needs to be said, or done, in any situation, trusting the Holy Spirit to use our poor effort to lead someone to Jesus.