Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Hi Roger,

Last night I dreamt that Satan tried to possess me during my unconscious state. I called on Jesus and at first his name could not come out of my mouth but a very vile inhuman sound was coming from my throat and my body was shaking terribly. I had a pentagram marked on my right leg that I discovered after dreaming of enticing an old boyfriend from college to sleep with me...in my dream....my stomach was swollen with an inguinal hernia or with Satan because after my stomach swelled, I noticed the pentagram and suddenly called on Jesus...because in my unconscious state, I knew that I was a child of God. After the horrible take over [sic] of my body, and voice, I tried calling again as loud as I could...and I suddenly woke up! I did not return to sleep until daybreak after asking believers on Facebook to pray for me.

Had I allowed Satan to take a foothold of my spirit? Is that possible? Did I somehow make myself susceptible to satanic attacks, by having unconscious longings? I haven't seen my ex-boyfriend since 1987; he's happily married and I have no desire to be a home wrecker. In my dream, I did not care if he were married or not....I was not saying anything remotely Christian to him; but only interested in fleshly desires. Can Satan take over when we think ungodly thoughts conscious or unconscious?

Could Satan mark me as his b/c my thoughts were impure-- conscious or unconscious-- even though I have given my life to Christ and repented of my sins and waking [sic] with Jesus daily? I know that Jesus has not given me a spirit of fear, and that the blood of Jesus has made me whole, and also He is greater than Satan and all of his demonic forces...but why did I dream such a nightmare....something so vile and evil....seeming to possess me?

Sincerely, Catherine

Dear Catherine,

My first impression is that your dream was a reflection of a really, really, really bad day. Of course, upon further review, much more was going on.

Can Satan control your sub-conscious? No.

Can Satan control or influence your consciousness? Yes.

Your dream reminds me of the night one of Job's friends, Eliphaz, watched a demonic spirit "glide" past his eyes in the darkness. He was having a rough night and was in a “deep sleep” when the dream apparition scared him senseless—just like your dream scared the life out of you.

A word was secretly brought to me, 
my ears caught a whisper of it.
Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
fear and trembling seized me
and made all my bones shake.
A spirit glided past my face,
and the hair on my body stood on end.
It stopped,
but I could not tell what it was.
A form stood before my eyes,
and I heard a hushed voice: . . .(Job 4:12-16).

This passage is difficult to interpret properly. So many questions arise. However, it is significant that the “demonic form” proceeded to give Eliphaz the working outline for Job’s three friends to use in judging and tormenting Job for the next thirty chapters or so.