Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Does God Speak in Our Dreams?

God has chosen to communicate with mankind through dreams. He guides
and counsels us through our dreams. He establishes covenants with us
through our dreams. He grants us gifts in our dreams. He utilized
dreams from Genesis to Revelation, and declared that He would
continue to use them in the last days. When you total up all dreams
and visions in the Bible, and all the stories and actions which come
out of these dreams and visions, you have about one-third of the
Bible, which is equal to the size of the New Testament! Dreams are a
central way God has chosen to communicate with us, and thus they must
be given great weight!

Five Things You Can Do to Help Recall Your Dreams
Say to yourself, "I believe dreams contain a valid message."
This is a signal to your heart that you are taking it seriously and
want to hear what it has to tell you. You are giving it permission,
and even asking it to awaken you after each dream. Your heart will do
exactly that. You see, if you do not awaken within five minutes of
the dream ending, you will not recall it. If, however, you

tell your heart that dreams are leftover undigested pizza, then you
heart lets you sleep through the dream and doesn't awaken you after
it is over, and thus you do not recall it.

Ask God to speak to you through dreams as you fall asleep.
God does answer prayers, especially when prayed in accordance to His

Put your journal beside your bed and immediately record your dreams
upon awakening.
You will forget most of your dreams by the morning, so get up and
write them down when you awaken.

Get eight hours of sleep, as the entire last hour will be dream-time.

Awaken naturally, without the use of an alarm clock, as alarms
shatter dream recall and blast tidbits of dreams into oblivion where
they are never found.

If you will do the above five things, you will recall dreams every

Seven Foundational Principles for Interpreting Dreams
Most dreams are symbolic (including biblical dreams), so view them
the same way you would view a political cartoon. Throw the switch in
your brain that says, "Look at this symbolically."
You can learn the art of communicating symbolically by playing the
game "Pictionary" or "Bible Pictionary."

The symbols will come from the dreamer's life, so ask, "What does
this symbol mean to me?" or, if working on another's dream,
ask, "What does this symbol mean to you?"
For example, Joseph was a shepherd, and he dreamed of sheaves and
sun, moon and stars bowing down (Gen. 37:1-11). These images surround
a shepherd boy who lives in the fields. Nebuchadnezzar, a king,
dreamed of statues of gold (Dan 2:31ff), which surround kings who
live in palaces.

The dream generally speaks of the concerns which your heart is
currently facing. So ask, "What issues was I processing the day
before I had the dream?"
For example, Paul was wondering where to go next on his missionary
journey and had a dream of a Macedonian man motioning for him to come
on over (Acts 16:6-11). Nebuchadnezzar was thinking his kingdom would
go on forever (Dan. 4:28-33) and he had a dream of a tree being
chopped off at the roots (Dan. 4:9-27). Once you know the thoughts
that were on the dreamer's heart when he fell asleep, it is much
easier to draw out the meaning of the dream.

The meaning of the dream must be drawn from the dreamer. Realize you
know nothing about the dream, but through dependence upon the Holy
Spirit and the skillful use of questions, you can draw the meaning of
the dream out from the heart of the dreamer.
As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all
learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and
dreams (Dan. 1:17).

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of
understanding will draw it out (Prov. 20:5).

The dreamer's heart will leap and "witness" and say, "Aha!" when it
hears the right interpretation, so never accept an interpretation
that does not bear witness in the dreamer's heart.

Dreams reveal but do not condemn. Their goal is to preserve life, not
to destroy it (Job 33:13-18).

Never make a major decision in your life based only on a dream
without receiving additional confirmation from the other ways that
God speaks to us and guides us (peace in our hearts, the counsel of
others, illumined Scriptures, God's still small voice, prophecy,
anointed reasoning, etc.).

Discerning Dreams About Yourself
At least 95% of your dreams will be about you -- your inner self,
your current situation, your relationships. Your dreams come from
your heart and will express the things that are important to your
heart. The most common area your spirit will reveal will be your
emotional, heart struggles and sanctification issues, expressed
symbolically. Body and health issues are also important to your
spirit, so they may be revealed, again in a symbolic way. Your
relationships to other people are important to your heart, so these
may be conveyed in signs and symbols. And the circumstances and
events that surround your life, ministry or vocation are also
important to your heart, so these may be portrayed symbolically in
your dreams.

Because the vast majority of dreams are about your inner self, begin
the process of interpreting your dream with the assumption that it
probably is about something you are or should be dealing with in your
own life right now.

Isolate the feeling of the dream first. How did you feel upon first
awakening? Was your heart pounding in fear? Were you confused,
frustrated, angry, rejected, or threatened? Did you feel loved,
excited, happy, or content? Did you feel exposed, unprepared, or
disappointed? What was the overall emotion that the dream evoked? In
what aspect of your life are you also feeling this emotion? If it is
not immediately obvious to you, ask the Lord to reveal it to you.

Look at the action of the dream next. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you
the symbolism of the action. For example, if the symbol in your dream
is that your car is going backward, ask, "In what way do I feel that
I am going backward, that I am not moving forward in this area of my
life?" If someone else is driving your car in the dream, ask, "In
what way is this person driving or controlling my life (e.g., my
reactions, attitudes, behaviors) at this time?" or "How is the
characteristic that this person symbolizes controlling me?" (See the
section below on the symbolism of people in your dreams.) If you are
falling, ask "In what way do I feel like I am falling, losing ground,
or out of control in my life at this time?" If you are soaring,
ask, "In what way or what area of my life do I feel like I am flying,
that I am rising above my problems or my abilities?" If you are being
chased, ask, "How and why do I feel like I am being pursued or
hunted?" If you are naked, ask, "In what way do I feel like I am
exposed and vulnerable?" If you dream of dying, ask, "What is dying
within me?" (This may be a good thing, for perhaps you are dying to
pride, or to self, or to workaholism.)

Remember, actions in the dream are to be viewed symbolically. If your
dream wanted to really show you that you were going to die, it would
picture that event symbolically. For example, just a few days before
his assassination, President Lincoln dreamed of a casket.

Once you have used the feeling and action of the dream to identify
the aspect of your life that it is revealing to you, the rest of the
symbols will be much easier to identify.

The people in your dreams often represent characteristics within you.
You can determine what facet of yourself they are representing by
simply asking, "What is the dominant personality trait of this
person, as I know him?" The answer will tell you what aspect of
yourself you are dreaming about. For example, your heart may want to
show you the entrepreneur, the hospitable host, the administrator,
the class clown, the spiritual leader, the laid back one, the
workaholic, etc. that is within you by the appearance in your dream
of an individual who epitomizes that kind of person to you. Your
pastor may be the spiritual part of you; a president or king may
symbolize other leadership qualities within you; a policeman, judge,
or dictator may be the authority figure in you; people in uniform
(nurses, waiters, choir members) may represent your desire to

It is also possible that the person's name may be the point that the
dream is trying to bring out, especially if that name is spoken
within the dream. Dreaming of a friend named Charity or Joy or Grace
or Joshua or David may be your heart's way of calling your attention
to the qualities that are seen in the meaning of the name. Or the
name may actually sound like the message the dream is trying to
convey. For example, dreaming of "Sharon" might be your heart's way
of pointing out an area in which you should be "sharing" something
you are not, or should not be sharing something you are. One person
reported dreaming of a friend named "Anita Cook" and finding the
interpretation to be "I need to cook."

It is also possible that the Lord Himself or one of His angels may
meet you in the dream.

Animals often represent your emotions. Ask, "What emotion might this
animal be symbolizing to me?" This will depend on your geographical
home, your personal experiences, your knowledge of the Bible, and
your own culture. For example, a bull might be anger (an "angry
bull"); a fox, craftiness; a cat, curiosity; a dove, peace; an eagle,
freedom; a snake, subtlety; a lion, royalty, and so on. Keep in mind
that in the Bible, a lion is used to represent both Christ ("the Lion
of the tribe of Judah") and satan ("as a roaring lion seeking whom he
may devour"). Therefore, you must maintain your dependence upon the
Holy Spirit to reveal what the animal represents in your specific

When you face the animal representing your emotions in your dream
rather than running from it, you may find that the animal changes
into a different one. It is good to face your emotions.

Numbers in dreams generally represent the identical number in real
life. However, the number will probably be linked to something which
needs to be interpreted symbolically. For example, when Joseph
dreamed of eleven stars, the eleven was literal but the stars were
symbolic and actually represented his brothers. Joseph was dreaming
about his eleven brothers (Gen. 37:1-11). Likewise, the cupbearer's
dream of three branches stood for three days (Gen. 39:12), and for
the chief baker, the three baskets represented three days (Gen.
39:18). In Pharaoh's dream, the seven cows were seven years (Gen.
41:26). So expect the number to mean that exact number of something.
It will take prayer, discernment and the revelation of the Spirit
(confirmed by the leap in your heart) to determine what it means.

Continue to move through the dream, seeking revelation on symbol
after symbol, until you sense in your spirit that the interpretation
is complete.

Occasionally you may have dreams that relate to more than your
personal, inner life. If you have examined the dream carefully, in
full reliance upon the Holy Spirit to bring the interpretation, and
you cannot see how the symbols of the dream apply to you, seek the
input of your spiritual counselors. They may be able to see your
blind spots and recognize the message your heart is trying to give

If your counselors agree that the dream does not apply to your inner
life, you may then consider the possibility that it is a dream for or
about others. One indication that this may be a dream for another
rather than you is if you are an observer of the action of the dream,
rather than a participant.

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