HOW TO HEAR GOD – PART I – DREAMS
Categories: Life Enrichment
There is an epidemic today, but it is not something that we can pinpoint with a doctor’s test, or observe under a microscope, this outbreak is elusive. The problem of our age is that there are people living as orphans when they were chosen to be sons and daughters. What am I talking about? I am talking about communication with God. There is a deeply ingrained need in each child to hear their Heavenly Father’s voice, but we have forgotten how. It is not only a lost art, it is a lost lifeline.
There was such a great response to my post “I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Hearing God” where I shared one of my experiences in hearing God. Your enthusiasm showed me that there is a huge need for a detailed teaching on hearing God’s voice. (If you are still struggling with whether God speaks today, then maybe your questions will be answered by reading the article above? This series is for people who are ready to start their journey in hearing God’s voice.)
So, let’s get started! There are so many ways that God speaks to His kids today! I am going to start with how God talks with people through dreams.
Our lives are often so busy that the easiest way for God to capture our attention is when your body is asleep and our soul is resting. It makes me think of the verse, “be still and know that I am God.” (Ps 46:10) We are a three-part person, body, soul, and spirit. At night your body and soul are dormant, but your spirit is always active. When our body and minds are calm, God often has an easier time talking with us straight to our spirit.
“God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it. In a dream, a vision of the night, when sound sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.” Job 33:14-16
Even today, dreams are viewed as reality in Eastern and Asian cultures. They believe that dreams serve as a sounding board which can help the dreamer make the right decision in life or help to bring clarity to their present season. Our western culture has almost forgotten the significance of dreams! Many reading this may shrug their dreams off every morning as silly stories their mind creates at night. But I believe dreams hold more value than we give them. If studying your dreams is a joke to you, I encourage you to stop and take a chance – you may be missing out on something that can really help you grow. And before you dismiss this as some weird new age or eastern religious stuff, remember that God taught an eastern people group (Israel) how to live in relationship with Him as an example to the world. Israel was forbidden to use the divining tactics of Egypt, but one of the ways God did encourage and often used to guide them was through dreams. In the first two chapters of the New Testament, God gave directions through prophetic dreams five times! (Matthew 1-2)
Are your dreams important?
Did you know that you can read 2/3rds of the New Testament today because one man obeyed his dream? A man named Ananias had a vision in his sleep where God told him to go and pray for a blind terrorist and heal him. (Acts 9:10-19) Ananias obeyed and prayed for the man named Saul who then became a believer renamed Paul. Paul became the founder of the churches outside of Israel and wrote 14 letters which have helped so many people and shaped our history. All because a man honored his dream. Looks like following your dreams really can change the world! Your dreams may not have a global impact the way Ananias’ did, but they can have a huge impact on your personal life.
Where do dreams come from?
God takes dreams seriously. He uses them to communicate with His kids. But not every dream you have is from God. There are four areas where dreams can come from.
- Your dreams can come from God. These are heaven inspired dreams which plant destiny, guidance, and purpose inside you. They are meant to be a message communicating the will of God.
- Your dreams can come from your soul. Soul dreams are often surfacing emotions, desires, or fears.
- Your dreams can be influenced by the demonic. These could be as serious as night terrors or just a distraction from what God is trying to say to you at night.
- Your dreams may be caused by your body. This could be something like dreaming that you are in pain only to wake up to find that your pillow is holding your head in a bad position.
All of these influencers take up space in your dream life. Not every dream is important, but not every dream should be dismissed just because you don’t understand it either. How do you know who the author of your dream is? One of the best ways to filter your dreams is to invite God to speak with you before you sleep. Then judge your dreams against the truth in God’s written word. There is so much more to say on discerning the source of your dreams, but this summary will get you started.
Record your dreams!
I took a dream interpretation class at Bethel, and one of the most significant things I remember them teaching us is to keep a journal of our dreams. Dreams are elusive and they tend to dissipate almost as soon as you wake up. There is a Jewish custom where they teach their children to write in their “sefer chalomot” or “dream journal” and record what they dreamed about before they start their day. This Jewish tradition teaches kids to expect to hear from God! It is important to immediately write down every detail in your dream or if writing is not your thing, record them verbally and make an album on your phone.
Keys to write down:
- The date and time. The day and time you received the dream may be significant either as a prophetic word for the future or give you a hint in the interpretation.
- Title your dream. Choose the theme and create a title. Dreams can seem chaotic so pinning it down to a title can be really helpful in understanding the meaning.
- Write the details in order. If you don’t have the details in the correct sequence then it can change the meaning. Include any numbers, colors, smells, imposing objects, or designs you see.
- Write down the emotions you felt during the dream. Were you amazed, were you scared, did the dream feel suspenseful? It is important to write down how you felt during the dream because this can shift the interpretation.
- Write down if the dream is recurring. If the dream is from God then recurring dreams can be a significant call to your destiny or a solution to your situation. If the dream is demonic you can do a few things. Reject it and speak God’s plan over your life, use it to your advantage in locating an issue of fear you have, or it may reveal a lifestyle which needs to change.
How to interpret dreams
The main purpose of God-given dreams is to build communication and relationship between you and your Daddy. The most important thing is not even the “message” but the love connection with the One who gave it. Dreams are intended to be relationship blocks between you and God. In India, a lot of people go to palm readers and get accurate instruction for their lives. But this true information does not come from God it comes from the wrong spirit. We must make sure we are in connection with the Holy Spirit. I think if we get close to God then He will take care of the translation. This loyal relationship with God will also help us not get into any weird interpretations or meanings which are not scriptural.
The two main questions to ask after you have had a dream are, “What are you saying God? And how can I partner with you?”
- If you are active in your dream then you may be the main focus and “star” of the dream. This could hint that the dream is for you. If you are on the “outside looking in” or inactive then the dream may be an insight into the person, event, or country the dream is focused on.
- Dreams are almost never literal. We have to think in symbolism and creatively when looking to find a meaning. Maybe one reason dreams are often like parables is because God hides wisdom as a reward for people who are hungry for it. Not to be cruel, but to build passion and relationship with His kids. (Proverbs 25:2) So if you are looking for treasures in your dream life then you will find them!
- Talk with people you trust about your dreams. Let a mentor in. Don’t go solo. Allowing others to help interpret your dreams will keep you grounded in reality and in God’s word.
- Build a community of dreamers by talking with friends and family about their dream life. This can help you all grow in the skill of translation.
- Be mindful of what you watch and think about. If you watch an intense movie and have a dream a few nights later filled with similar content then the dream is probably induced by what you watched. Consider filtering what you feed yourself because focus is king.
- You will make mistakes as you try to translate your dreams. But don’t let fear of failing stop you because falling down is a part of learning. If you keep going you will build a skill in translating dreams.
A great resource, “Dream Language” by James Goll, includes an encyclopedia of translations for symbols and subjects in dreams. (See the link below.)
Dare to dream
When I was a kid I was bombarded with nightmares almost every night. I remember being around five or seven years old and begging God, “Don’t let me have dreams anymore.” Around that time I stopped having nightmares but I also cannot remember having any “God dreams” either. My dream life stopped. I think that dark dreams are more common among our friends than we think. Maybe many people ignore their dreams because they are mostly bad? I remember just last month I had a nightmare. I was so angry when I woke up, “Why would something evil be allowed to threaten me?!” And then I saw a picture in my mind of a group of demons drawing straws on who would be the unlucky one to dare plant a threatening dream in my sleep. And that the second I startled awake the instigator fled like a dog with its tail between its legs. God dissipated my fear by revealing a behind the scenes view. The truth that the messenger of terror was actually the one terrified was so hilarious and puny to me that I actually laughed out loud. If you are someone who has struggled with night terrors then know that the demonic is petrified of you! You are a child of the All-Powerful God! Stand in God, resist the fear tactics of the devil, and he will flee.
I hope you have gained some helpful tools and see the importance of your dream life as a way of communication with God! I am still on my journey of valuing and understanding my dream life. But we have to start somewhere. I encourage you to ask God to speak with you tonight and see what He says!
Do you have a story to share of when God spoke to you in a dream? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!