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Word 4: Prevenience

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Prevenient grace is the way God draws a person into relationship before the person has invited the relationship or God's touch. Prevenient means "preceding."

Picture a tennis ball on the mattress of your bed. The rule is you can't touch the ball, but you need to move the ball off of the bed. One good approach would be to push down on the mattress near the ball so the ball would roll toward your hand. You could repeat this until the ball reached the end of the bed and fell to the floor. 

This approach to grace and courtship is a useful concept for centurions who want to lead people toward relationship with Jesus. You can shape the context of a workplace to make the things of God more attractive and clearer to the people who work there, and you can do so without coercion or cajoling along the way.

What works with the tennis ball and the mattress is gravity. Pressing down on the mattress allows gravity to draw the ball in a direction. If God is indeed the compelling desire in the hearts of His creation, people will "roll" that direction when resistance is reduced.

The question for centurions is, "do you believe in that gravity?" And, "are you willing to press down on the mattress in the hope that the hearts of your people might roll toward God?"