Have you ever wondered, ‘What do my dreams mean?’ Dreaming while sleeping is common to all the people of the world. From babies, to children, to adults; we all dream!
Dreams are strange experiences. Sometimes so lucid and convincing that they cause us to actually speak or move in our sleep. Dream worlds are weird. They have different rules, they seem to be mixtures of the familiar and the unknown.
Many people ignore their dreams, even if they are disturbing or intriguing. However since Bible times dreams have been recognised by spiritual people as one of the primary ways that God can speak to us.
Throughout Bible times God used visions and dreams to direct and help people. Why is this? I think one reason is that night dreams somehow help to switch off our ‘God blockers’ and we are simply more open to spiritual things when we are dreaming (this is reinforced by scientific studies that have demonstrated that the frontal lobes of the brain which are responsible for logical thought, are dormant during dreaming). Perhaps for some it’s the only time that God can get their attention at all!
Even so, dreams are tricky things to handle. For a start, all the rules seem different in dreams, strange things happen and we can do supernatural things like flying or translocating through space and time.
One of the most challenging aspects to ‘dream listening’ is the ability to recall the dream. Often when we wake up, even though we may sense that we have just dreamt something significant, the memory of it can run away from us, like water down a plug hole! It’s so frustrating.
For most of us listening to our dreams doesn’t come easily, it requires effort and discipline. But just like so many other things we desire to learn, the best way to improve our ‘dream recall’ is to practice regularly. If you set about this with some effort and begin to write down your dreams as soon as you wake up you will be surprised at how many details you begin to remember. Over time you will begin to recall your dreams more easily. If we can manage this then the next step is to make sense of our dreams.
Check out our video series on DREAMING and INTERPRETATION by JIM MCLAUGHLIN (watch the preview below)
Guidance and Direction in Dreams
So what is God going to speak to us about in our dreams? If we know the Lord and have been reconciled to God through the Gospel we would expect that God is going to speak to us about our relationship with him and about the plans he has for our lives (John 14:26). In our experience God has given us warning dreams, dreams about people he wants us to help, and dreams about things he has for us to do. He has also given us dreams that are simply about wonderful mysteries He wants to disclose about our relationship and his glory.
Here’s a few example of guidance God has given us in dreams:
Once when we were on holiday in Wales Aliss had a dream about a woman wearing a pentagram on bus and she also had problems with her back. That very same day we met the lady (serving in a shop) and ministered healing to her.
Some years ago I dreamt that I was driving down a road where we lived in a red sports car but it could hardly move. This dream confirmed that God was calling us to move and minister in another place (the red car represented a powerful ministry but we were in the wrong place, hence the difficulty moving forward).
A good friend of ours who worked with us often dreamt about the people who would be coming into our community café the following day. She would tell me in the morning about the dream and then the person would come in. This was a powerful way of preparing her for the ministry that would take place and affirmation of Gods grace and guidance.
Those examples didn’t need much interpretation, but they did need attention and could have easily been forgotten or ignored. However, with some ‘dream listening’ and a few written notes each one brought invaluable spiritual revelation and guidance that led to transformed lives.
If we learn how to listen to our own night dreams it not only helps us to hear God but also equips us to listen and help others that may need some interpretation with their own dreams. We used to have a sign outside our shop in our city saying ‘Dream Interpretation’ and many people would come in asking about it.
The most common dreams people brought related to us were anxiety dreams, manifesting guilt, fears, and insecurities. God often uses these dreams to prompt us to get right with others and with Him. To ignore these promptings or smother them with drugs or alcohol is a grave mistake. In Job 33 it says that God can use dreams to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride.
Other common dream themes are: ‘I’m hiding’, ‘I’m lost’, ‘I’m running away’, ‘I am trying to find something and no matter how many doors I open I cannot find it’… Have you ever had one of these? Even for those that may seem perfectly together in the day time – dreams often reveal what is going on inside.
For those wishing to minister life and hope to others dreams are a great invitation to speak of the hope and freedom of the gospel. Here’s a couple more common dreams:
‘Loosing teeth dreams’: this is Anxiety about aging, or attractiveness – it is fear of powerlessness…
Ecclesiastes 5 vs 3 says ‘a dream comes when there are many cares’
‘Naked dreams’: in the dream everything seems normal; we are going to school or work and then to our horror we realise that we have no clothes on! This is a vulnerability dream and we are afraid we will be found out for who we really are.
Of course, if you have just been to watch a horror film like ‘Jaws’ the night before and you dreamt about sharks chasing you then don’t need the gift of interpretation to know where that came from! However, sometimes it is useful to have a grasp of basic Biblical symbolism and meanings when it comes to listening to and helping others know what God might be saying to them in their dreams.