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 recognized 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.
I did a brief search for every account of someone having a dream in the Bible and soon discovered that there are more accounts of God speaking through dreams to those we might call ‘unbelievers’ than the faithful ones. That surprised me. So why is this? Well, I think one reason is that night dreams somehow help to switch off our ‘God blockers’; we are more open to spiritual things when we are 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 trans-locating through space and time. Then another thing about dreams is that when you wake up – even though we know that we have just dreamed of something significant, the memory of it can run away from us like water down a plug hole. It’s so annoying…
The art of learning how to listen to dreams
For most of us listening to our dreams doesn’t come easily, it requires effort and discipline. So if this is another way in which God speaks to us then we know that one of our challenges is learning how to remember our dreams. If we can manage this then the next is to interpret it.
It says in proverbs:
‘It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings’ Prov 25:2
So how much do we value God’s treasures? Are we willing to invest some time and effort to search them out? Perhaps God only wants to reveal these mysteries to people who care enough about them to value them. As a wise man once said – God doesn’t hide things from us – he hides them for us.
One of the major characteristics of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit according to Joel 2 and Acts 2 was that all people of the Spirit would have visions and dreams. I believe that if we are disregarding dreams as a way in which God can speak to us then we are missing out on a rich experience of spiritual revelation. God can speak to us in our night dreams if we are willing to listen to them.
What are our dreams going to say?
So what is God going to speak to us about in our dreams? As those who are born of the Spirit we should expect that God is going to speak to us about our relationship with him and about the plans he has for our lives… 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 things God has told us in dreams:
- Once when we were on holiday in Wales Aliss had a dream about a woman wearing a pentagram on bus who had problems with her back, that very same day we met the lady and ministered healing to her. (People seem to have an increased sensitivity to dreams when they are in a new environment).
- Some years ago (before we opened our cafe) I dreamed that I was driving down a road where we lived in a red sports car but it would hardly move. This 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 – so it couldn’t move).
- Later on a good friend of ours often dreamed about the people who would be coming into our cafe the following day. She would tell me in the morning about the dream and then the person would come in.
Those examples didn’t need much interpretation but they did need attention and with the Holy Spirit helped with preparation… it means we can actually pray for people God wants to help before we meet them – how cool is that?