No one knows all the reasons why we sleep. We do know that getting too little sleep is harmful in both the long and short term. A group of MIT masters’ level students were kept awake for 48 hours. eeg Brain scans then revealed that their brain functioning was indistinguishable from those of schizophrenics.

Most dreams are what we might call “normal.” They are pleasant, enjoyable experiences—if we remember them at all. Our brains covet sleep as the time that our sub-conscious processes the events in our lives. Dream studies reveal that most of the events that occur in our lives are laid down permanently in long-term memory during our sleeping hours. Regrettably, as we grow older, our brains become less and less proficient at locking in memories as we sleep.

Obviously much processing occurs in our subconscious as we sleep. We may discover that our subconscious brings up repressed memories that need revealing and healing. Perhaps issues in our lives are need attention and resolution. Perhaps God has a message to share with us—a lesson, encouragement, comfort, warning or direction—just to name a few.

The Bible is filled with dreams chock full of meaning. If these dreams were important in Bible times, then we can suspect that they are important in our lives as well.

  • Some are nightmares (Nebuchadnezzar's dream of coming world empires--Daniel 2).
  • Some are warnings (Gabriel to Joseph warning about fleeing to Egypt--Matthew 2).
  • Some give advice (Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dream about seven good years of abundant harvests to be followed by seven lean years of harvest--Genesis 41).
  • Some are daydreams (Joseph interacting with his brothers--Genesis 37:19).
  • Some are prophetical (Nebuchadnezzar's dream of his coming insanity--(Daniel 4).
  • Some dreams give guidance (Paul's vision about going to Macedonia--(Acts 16:6-10).
  • Some dreams carry messages (Gabriel explaining to Joseph about why Mary was pregnant--(Matthew 2:20-23).
  • In the last days God's people will have many dreams to share about the Kingdom of God (Joel 2:28-29).

Catherine, I hope you are getting the idea that God often speaks in dreams. It is OK to analyze and/or consider that they have special meaning for us. The same reasons God used dreams in the Old Testament are the same reasons that He gives dreams to us as well.

It is possible that the awful nightmare you experienced may have tucked inside of it a lesson or word of victorious living. In the midst of your terror you didn’t stumble. You knew to go straight to Jesus. I hope you learned that no matter how treacherous and tormenting is the satanic attack, relief is just a prayer away.

Thanks for the good question. I hope you find some helpful things to consider as you digest my answer.

God bless you for great days ahead.

Love, Roger


Dr. Roger Barrier recently retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work isGot Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answerfrom Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.