Wesleyan Thomas C. Oden of Drew University defines universal prevenient grace as follows: "...the grace that begins to enable one to choose further to cooperate with saving grace. By offering the will the restored capacity to respond to grace, the person then may freely and increasingly become an active, willing participant in receiving the conditions for justification."
John Wesley said, "Human beings are totally incapable of responding to God without God first empowering them to have faith. This empowerment is known as "Prevenient Grace." Prevenient Grace doesn't save us but, rather, comes before anything that we do, drawing us to God, making us WANT to come to God, and enabling us to have faith in God. Prevenient Grace is Universal, in as much as all humans receive it, regardless of their having heard of Jesus. It is manifested in the deep-seated desire of most humans to know God."
Evangelical Baptist theologian Millard Erickson says, "It is here that many Arminians, recognizing human inability as taught in the Scripture, introduce the concept of prevenient grace, which is believed to have a universal effect nullifying the noetic results of sin, thus making belief possible. The problem is that there is no clear and adequate basis in Scripture for this concept of universal enablement."...Calvinist Thomas Schreiner likewise says that, "Prevenient grace is attractive because it solves so many problems, but it should be rejected because it cannot be exegetically vindicated."
Related: Total Inability - Regeneration - Effectual Grace - Sola Gratia