32 responses

  1. Seymour
    July 19, 2010

    Good post, Dan. I am very grateful that throughout my life, God has used dreams to inform, warn, direct, and comfort me. Two very vivid dreams on consecutive nights played quite a significant role in my conversion and I think that set a precedent for taking dreams pretty seriously in my ensuing walk. I do feel that sometimes dreams reflect my own inner state and can show me things I am not aware of that are bubbling away underneath. These kind of dreams can usefully be used as fuel for prayer and reflection. Other dreams are very clearly the intrusion of God’s revelation and have a different quality to them. I think it is usually quite clear to people when God is speaking to them in a dream. I have found it really helpful to write them down and keep a dream journal. I reckon this signals a receptivity to God that kind of says “I’m listening, so if you want to speak to me this way, go ahead.”

    Funny you should post this this week, too, I’ve just had a sudden fresh flood of significant dreams in the last few nights. Thanks for the reminder and spur to take this side of revelation seriously.

    • Dan Edelen
      July 19, 2010

      Seymour,

      Good points about categories of dreams that I neglected to mention in my posts. I believe that dreams conform to the communication charismata, so the classifications reflect this:

      1. Words of wisdom – Understanding and resolving baffling problems. (I would put dream interpretation here, too.)
      2. Words of knowledge – Receiving concealed information. (Daniel’s classic revelation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 would illustrate this.)
      3. Words of prophecy – Seeing events that have not yet come to pass.

      My dream about my friend and the train would fall into both knowledge and prophecy, I think.

      My recurring nightmare that I worked through had both wisdom and knowledge elements.

      My dream that I took no action on was most definitely prophetic, with some elements of knowledge.

      Do you have anything you’d like to add?

    • Dan Edelen
      July 19, 2010

      I think you could also make a case that dreams can be like a visual version of tongues, especially when the dreams are odd or packed with mysterious symbols.

      The fact that tongues is a gift that has an interpretive, paired gift makes the comparison apt.

      • Seymour
        July 22, 2010

        Absolutely, Dan. I had never systematised it in this way but I think the point about dreams miroring the communication Charismata is a very helpful way of looking at it.

        I find it interesting that you shared this post, coinciding with the release of the movie, “Inception” which is, of course, all about dreams. I wonder if this indicates a profound soci-spiritual trend towards an interest in dreams and dreaming once again. Non-western societies have, of course, long regarded dreams as highly important – for them it is a no-brainer – but I am not surprised to see it re-entering the consciousness of a spiritually hungry generation of westerners. If this is true then we, of all people, need to be keyed in to a biblical understanding and ready to answer that hunger with clarity because it could present a massive opportunity for fuzzy-new-age doctrines to get another foothold.

        I have, in the past, found that people who have no faith are often very willing to share their dreams and quite open to the offer of a little interpretation – this has been a good starting point for some conversations. I have had moments when someone has said, “I had a funny dream last night …” and when they have shared it I felt that God was showing me something through that and enabling me to speak back into their lives. I predict an increasing need for Christians who can exercise a gift of interpretation, not only within the church but out in the street and marketplace (figuratively speaking).

        I might also mention that there was a time in my life when I exploited my sensitivity to dreams in a very wrong way. Dreams are used extensively in shamanism and other occult systems. This has made me even more aware of their power and significance and even more determined to approach the whole subject prayerfully and reverently.

        Several years ago I had a dream in which I drank from a fountain of water. The taste of the water was simultaneously utterly sweet and satisfying and at the same time thirst-inducing – there was a supernatural quality to it. Having the memory of that taste in my mouth, like a physical sensation of the Water of Life, has been something I return to again and again. Sometimes in an atmosphere of worship, while hearing scripture or when listening to a speaker, I’ll get that taste again in my mouth and it often confirms to me that I am coming into contact with something authentically God given.

        A lot of people I have spoken to also describe dreaming about speaking in tongues before they experience it when awake. This happened to me, too.

        Thinking out loud as usual, thanks for stimulating a little thought and conversation on the topic and putting it back in the spotlight for us :-)

  2. Normandie
    July 19, 2010

    Dan, Thank you once again for a thoughtful post. I linked it to Facebook because others need to read this as well.

    We’re out here in the middle of nowhere, so often listen to sermons we’ve downloaded. It’s usually a random choice: “God, what do we need to hear today?” And, oh, my, but every single week, we come away with something we absolutely needed to hear! Yesterday, the head pastor at Times Square Church spoke to us about the need to follow the Lord and not our own understanding, which also means we must not eschew the supernatural.

    I think I’ve neglected dreams, often because I haven’t liked the content. But, according to what you wrote, that may be God dealing with certain issues in my life. And if I’ve asked the Lord to clean me and fill me and use me, then He may be trying to do that… Aha. So, on my knees if the uglies visit in the night.

    Yes, sir.

    • Dan Edelen
      July 19, 2010

      Normandie,

      I think we all neglect dreams to some extent. We’ve relegated them to the past and assigned them a dubious label.

      I kept a dream journal for a few years because I was dreaming so vividly and having these epic dreams. For the Christian, think of a dream journal as the counterpart to a prayer journal. Both might be beneficial and reinforce the other.

  3. John Tabita
    July 19, 2010

    Dan,

    I appreciate your post. It’s not something that’s talked about much. It seems easy to dismiss them because, as you pointed out, they confound the intellect. I’ve learned that God doesn’t always communicate with us using rational thought processes, so I pay attention to what I’m feeling as well.

    Several years ago, I was attending a technical college and I found out that the girl who sat right in front of me (a Christian girl) was dating this rather dark and brooding student who sat across the room. The feeling I experienced when she told me this was jealousy.

    The problem was, I’m married and had absolutely no designs on her whatsoever. I was so startled by this emotional reaction that I had to ask the Lord what was going on. He revealed to me was that these were His feelings about the situation and showed me where she would end up if she continued the relationship (which she did, despite the warning from the Lord that I shared with her).

    She ultimately got involved in some occult activities with him. During this time, another student whom I’d hardly ever spoken with asked me if I were a Christian and told me that I needed to pray for this girl. Not long afterwards, he beat her up and broke her ribs. But the Lord had given me some Scripture which I was able to share with her which, I hope, was able to pull her out of the situation. (I graduated shortly thereafter and lost contact with her.)

    Like dreams, feeling can come from a variety of sources, not all of which are necessarily the Holy Spirit, and they should also be subject the limitus test of Scripture that you outlined in your post. But I think that we often miss much of what the Lord’s trying to say to us by merely dismissing these things out of hand.

    • Dan Edelen
      July 19, 2010

      Sounds like dreams were working for you, John. And you also got a lesson that what appears to be true on the surface may not be what the core truth is.

  4. John8com
    July 19, 2010

    Hi Dan,

    I’m fairly agnostic about this issue – and no, I’m not all that comfortable with that… But why isn’t it, do you think, that we do not have more public dreams, their interpretations and their fulfillment to the amazement of the church? It seems that most publicly announced dreams are either vague or prove to be utterly false. Where’s the dream predictions of earthquakes and famines that actually occur as predicted?

    Brad

    • Dan Edelen
      July 19, 2010

      Brad,

      My answer is a simple one:

      If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
      —James 1:5-8

      Our very lack of faith that such things have merit is its own self-fulfilling prophecy. We doubt, therefore we do not see, therefore we doubt even more. Our Western, rationalistic culture disposes of all things supernatural. Therefore, we do not see them. Our mindset is constantly at war against anything that isn’t scientific. And this hurts our faith tremendously.

      But when you go to cultures that still value the supernatural, you are far more likely to see it manifested because the people believe that the supernatural is as real as the natural.

  5. Jeremy
    July 21, 2010

    Dan I agree with your take on dreams and how important it is for us to pay attention to our dreams and to be proactive in addressing them. I have had many dreams of people in danger where it feels as thought I am that person and I feel all of the emotions of panic and fear. My mother taught me since I was a young boy to respond to them in prayer because of the experiences she had in her life with them. I too have had people come to me and say something happened to them that I had dreamt about and prayed for.

    However, I knew of a man who was a minister within a particular denomination who had become basically a bishop over a certain region of the country. He was a young man in his mid-40’s when he was killed in a private plane accident. Shortly after his death a woman came to a close minister friend of his and said to him, “You know it’s the strangest thing, I had a dream the night before brother so and so was killed that he was killed in a plane crash.” The minister asked her what she did in response to that dream. She said, “Well I don’t believe that God speaks to us in dreams or that other hocus pocus so I just went back to sleep. What are you saying I should have done?” The minister replied, “My God woman you should have prayed!”

    My parents knew both the minister who died in the crash and the other minister. The odd thing was that even though that dream came true she still didn’t get it.

    Lastly, I had a recurring dream for 5 years about something that regarded a very important relationship in my life. It bothered me but I just dismissed it as being my own thoughts and insecurities. In fact, it was all true and almost destroyed this relationship completely. I know now without doubt that God speaks to us through dreams and we ought to heed them.

    Thank you for this topic!

  6. NayNay
    December 20, 2011

    I know that God speaks to us through dreams. One night back in early 2005, I had prayed to God about a situation that concerned me. Later that night/early morning, I had a dream. Later that day, I wondered to myself if the dream was brought on because of an outcome that I desired. Later on the same evening, I was watching a spiritual program on tv and the minister said to turn to a particular scripture. As I went to turn to that scripture, I passed a totally different scripture and I would’ve continued to turn but ‘something’ said, “Go back.” So I did. The scripture that I went back to was Ephesians 5:31. I now know that ‘something’ was the Holy Spirit guiding me and the scripture pertained to the dream that I had earlier that morning. Even though the dream has not come to pass, I know that in God’s perfect timing it will. Had I not been obedient, I may have missed a moment of God’s leading.

  7. KDean
    April 17, 2012

    Thank you for the post! I like you referring to dreams as messy and that’s why we clean Christians don’t like to talk about them. Sometimes I realize that perfection and control issues are my god and stop me from experiencing all that my true God has to offer. I also appreciate you mentioning the difference between ‘God dreams’ and ‘Pizza dreams’. Sometimes I get discouraged because dreams can be so diverse; one night God is revealing truths and another night I’m being tempted by sin.
    Two years ago God gave me a word so very clearly in a dream. After much prayer and consideration I found that this word was a real place and my wife and I went there and God revealed Himself again and again to us. But now I’m craving more information; what’s next? Why did you give me this word? Do you want us to serve you in this place? I keep waiting for another dream; trying to find the balance between waiting on God and becoming complacent. I think the best part is that I’m becoming open to experiencing the Holy Spirit in new ways. I look forward to getting out of my conservative comfort zone and becoming open to whatever He has for me.
    Thanks for the post!

  8. reallife
    September 6, 2012

    i had a dream about I and some more people was somewhere and it was fire and I started praying and speaking in tongues.At the beginning I started like I was preaching and talking to people and this is when I started speaking in tongues .I look at one person and told that person that they had a demon in them and then my dream when to another phase where I was surrounded by fire and I started praying for people telling them that it will be alright only if they believe then I awaken.I do not know what this means but it was on my mind.

  9. Cindy Loflin
    October 8, 2012

    I recently attended a women’s conference hosted by Judith MacNutt, where prophetic dream interpretation was taught and discussed. Since then, I’ve had several dreams that seem significant…the past two nights, I have dreamt of getting therapeutic massages. Do you have any ideas on the symbolism of that? I never have recurring themes. The first one, the therapist was working on me (an unknown female) and started praying in tongues over me (feeling was comforting). The next night, I again had a massage, but no tongues. It seems very significant, but nothing in any dream dictionaries (other than New Age garbage). I loved your article, and found it while praying for discernment. Although my church is open to gifts of the Spirit, I don’t know any “dream interpreters” there. thanks, and God Bless!

  10. Britt :)
    November 1, 2012

    I dreamed of this being he was floating up in the air while the sky was split up and the ground looked destroyed .There were three of us standing there I was afraid of him so i ran .Than suddenly fire surrounded us our clothes turned white and we all had angel wings .

  11. laura bold
    November 2, 2012

    I stumbled on to your page/site and it was what I needed to have my Heart Read. The first post I read was the 12 sayings of Christ, I really try and follow these guides of his. Then I found the Dream page, I had been having weird Dreams and know that there is something there for me to know….and God has spoken to me many times threw Dreams and I never thought it was not him. Yet I have never thought of how many other People may not know this can be true for them also. The Fact that it is in the Bible never crossed my mind, as a matter of fact I kind of wondered if it was a Gift or a Curse. As a Teenager I had talked to my Mom about this and my “worry” of it being a Curse in some way. She told me it was how I used it and allowed it to work for me on how it would effect my life. I am in my 50’s now and my Parents have passed, I have so many Gifts they taught me to Use. When I become to worried about something they come in my Dreams and give me the Love I need to get threw another Day. Those moments are special to me. I have wondered if they were Dreams of God coming to me in the form of a passed Loved one, or if it is Love that is still flowing in my Heart from what they gave me on when they were still on the Earth? Where ever it comes from, it is always a blessing and the Ghost in me Dances all night long.

    • Dan Edelen
      November 4, 2012

      Laura, dreams must always be tempered by Scripture. I used to meet with someone who has a real gift in helping me unpack my dreams, and especially to deal with recurring nightmares. Perhaps someone in your area can help you unpack your dreams and find meaning in them.

  12. Viktoria
    November 25, 2012

    Hi, I just searched the web after a weird experience when I was sleeping last night.
    I dreamed of sitting in my living room with my family, when the floor started shaking violently, like an earth quake. We was looking at each other what can that be, when I saw the ‘spirit’ of my husband’s best friend who just died two months ago, walking towards us.
    (I do not believe in talking to dead people and all that)
    I started shaking and trembling very hard, and I felt like I’m in danger. I was dreaming, but the fear grow greater in me with every second, I felt like life is over for me, I knew I was sleeping but could not wake up. Than I (or my spirit) started to pray in tounges.
    Finaly I opened my eyes, hearing my own voice as I praying in my head and looking at my body still trembling.
    As weird as it sounds, the praying helped me wake up, and stopped the dream what caused me to shake and fear for my life.
    And the speaking in tonges? I grew up in a church, and still beliveing, but haven’t pray in that way in ages.

  13. Diana
    July 27, 2013

    Hello Dan I love your post! I have always been know to have dreams, I remember the time when I had a dream that my dad was digging a grave, I was standing there beside him and as I looked across the grave yard I saw my mother and a couple of others standing there singing a beautiful song, so beautiful. When I woke up I thought about that dream and told my mother but I could not remember the words to that song in the dream but I know it was so beautiful. Well maybe about 4 Month after that dream my father went into a coma, my mother rushed him to the hospital and like 2 days after he died. I cried thinking about that dream now knowing that he was digging his own grave. That song in the dream, I believe my Dad made it to heaven. Well I am a BORN AGAIN Christian and I’m really afraid of the dreams that I have even till this day. Last summer I had a dream that my mother was walking up the steps and she had a rose in her hand, she grabbed my hand and said she’s going home. In the dream I was crying and held her hand so tightly. She kept telling me to come down stairs and in the dream I didn’t want to, she kept asking me “why is it because you don’t want to see the hurt” When she said that I immediately woke up with my hands still hurting from holding on to her so tight. Seemed so real, I could not get any sleep that night so I called her and told her that dream. I prayed Dan and she’s alive today. Glory to God! prayer makes a lot of difference in our lives and the lives of others.

  14. Diana
    July 27, 2013

    So till this day after that dream I sleep with my door closed because I hate to see the stairs from my room. I have so many dreams Dan that I can’t control till this day. After my father died I told God I do not want any dreams like that again, but that was like 11yrs ago. But it haven’t stopped, I recently had a dream that I best friend was in a casket, yes, it was 3 caskets in a hallway and I saw her face. I immediately awakened and the first thing I did was call her. I was afraid to tell her that she was in a coffin but I told her anyway. She was shocked and afraid so I told her to give herself to the Lord, she said she wasn’t into that, so I prayed with her. Well DAN, a Month later I received a call from another friend telling me she passed away in the bathroom at her job from a busted blood vessel in her brain. I wasn’t shock being that I am so use to my dreams now, but I cried asking God to take these dreams away. Dan I’m afraid of my dreams so much, can you please pray for me that I can gain courage. Sometimes I have relaxing dreams, maybe dreams about zombies that I just watched on T.V. in which I’m not afraid. But other than that some dreams I just can’t understand. I also have dreams that I’m speaking in tongues, that dream I love. it’s so cool to have the Holy Spirit speak on my behalf in dreams. Thanks Dan, God bless.

    • Dan Edelen
      July 29, 2013

      Diana,

      It may be a hard search, but see if you can find a solid Christian counselor who does work with dreams. I was fortunate many years ago to meet such a man, and he helped me work through some recurring nightmares. I came to understand what they meant and have not had one like them since. I prayed that you would find such a counselor.

  15. candy
    March 4, 2014

    I had a dream I was speaking in tongues I know the Holy Spirit is speaking to me in my dreams but I don’t know what it means I’m doing means something good can you help me out with this can you pray with me thanks my name is candy Hawkins age 29

    • Dan Edelen
      March 4, 2014

      Candy,

      I think dreams in which you are speaking in tongues are more common than some people think, so you are not alone.

      Do you speak in tongues outside of dreams? If not, perhaps this is a way that God is wanting to work in you, and you should keep asking Him for more of His Spirit in your life. In fact, if I had dreams like yours, asking for more of God’s Spirit and expecting Him to show up in power would be my emphasis in prayer afterwards.

      I did pray for you along those lines. Thanks for writing. Be blessed!

  16. ronni
    March 20, 2014

    Wild that your post is the first to come up… been having the same dream since I was a teenager… for a few years didn’t have it at all… then over the past 5 years, it’s been almost quarterly until the past year… now I have it almost every month. It’s not a “bad” dream… in fact for years I rejoiced over it… but here I am in my 40’s… and it seems God has systematically derailed every aspect of that dream. I’ve asked Him to just remove it so many times as it is ingrained at this point so deeply in me… it’s painful to have it again and realize that it’s not possible anymore. I’ve even had my leadership (who know me very well, and genuinely want the best for me, a true spiritual father) direct me in other directions and never speak into those aspects of my life… even to the point in almost encouraging me away from them… it’s just confusing anymore, because this man has never been wrong (well, he has, he’s human, but he always admits it and it’s never on something huge like this)… Anymore when I have the dream I end up in an emotional depression and sobbing trying to get this to die already! I need to move on with my life and I just can’t let go of this…

    I just don’t know what to do or think anymore. I used to get dreams all the time and then they would come true… freaked me out at times. Now I get um… I guess they are visions? (I see it in my imagination, except I’m not controlling it at all… kinda like a flashback or something) and ALOT of times they come true… So the fact this won’t go away is driving me nuts.

    That and the past 3 years my whole life spiritually has taken a 180 (in the good way) and now more than ever I could see God using me that way someday, but then nothing else even remotely adds up. Geesh I’m a mess.

    And wild that is is such an old post and I haven’t been on your blog (or said hi) in ones. :-) *waves* HI DAN! lol…

    Long story short on the spiritual 180… I went from being a well trained pharisee to a really big train wreck, as in God’s totally wrecked me in the good way… and I want so badly to do what He desires… so that makes this whole thing even more unsettling for me.

    Oy.

    • Dan Edelen
      March 21, 2014

      Ronni,

      My advice: Find a dream therapist and work it out. If you’re in the Greater Cincy area now, UC does a ton of dream research, so there are people who specialize in it in this area. I’d recommend the therapist I saw, but he was older when I saw him almost 25 years ago, so he is certainly retired or deceased. Still, he was incredibly helpful. Maybe there is a similar person out there who can help you. It was definitely worth it for me.

  17. Laura
    July 23, 2014

    Hey Dan!

    Great post! Love all the points you’ve made out. I have had recurring dreams. There all different in their own ways, however, the theme Is the same. I keep seeing this guy from my church in my dreams. And his character is being shown to me and where he is spiritually. Including some love interest. I’m learning a lot about myself seeing the Godly characters in him which I lack. And in reality I see the same characters that reflect in my dreams. These dreams are getting intense and a lot more interesting. I do ask for interpretation from the Holy Spirit. I just don’t know what to do with these dreams! Should I even tell the guy? Do I just continue to pray about them?

  18. Shauntel
    September 14, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and for this article. I have had vivid dreams since the age of 3, and have had probably 10 or so dreams that I believe 100% were from God. 3 of them repeating prophetic dreams that came true. ..and I agree with others that even though I dream vividly every night, the dream feels different when from God. I often wonder what God would like me to do with this gift, is it just for my benefit or am I supposed to be helping others? It is just good to hear I am not alone. Thank you and God bless.

    • GodsDaughter88
      March 10, 2015

      @Shauntel

      So the 3 dreams that came true had been repeated to you right?
      I also have a specific dream about my life that keeps coming up so many times and other Brothers & sisters in Christ happened to see the same thing about me. So its like its repeating to me AND others are seeing it too.!

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