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Is Christian Dream Interpretation Biblical?

Is Christian Dream Interpretation Biblical?

God still speaks through dreams today, just as in biblical times. Sometimes, God may send you dream messages directly for specific purposes. Every time you dream, regardless of whether God sends you a special message then, your mind processes thoughts and emotions. If you have asked the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, that process will happen while you’re asleep as well as while you’re awake, giving you some type of inspiration from every dream. Christian dream interpretation steps can help you figure out what God is telling you through your dreams. Here’s how to hear from God through dream interpretation.

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What the Bible Says about Christian Dream Interpretation

What the Bible Says about Christian Dream Interpretation

The Bible features many instances of God speaking to people through dreams. Old Testament examples include Jacob’s dream of angels traveling between heaven and earth on a ladder and King Solomon’s conversation with God in a dream. New Testament examples include the dreams that Joseph and the Magi experienced in the Christmas story dreams, as well as the nightmare that Pontius Pilate’s wife had in the Easter story.

The Holy Spirit speaks to us through dreams, Acts 2:17 says: “‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’” Even when we aren’t aware of God’s messages through our dreams, God is still speaking through them. “For God does speak – now one way, now another – though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds,” declares Job 33:14-15.

Christians should interpret dreams as we do everything else – through the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, the Bible says. 1 Corinthians 2:10 tells us: “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. … What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” In John 14:26, Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit is a counselor who can help us understand everything (including dreams): “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”

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Types of Messages that God May Send You through Dreams

God is infinitely creative, so he may choose to send you all sorts of messages through your dreams. Those messages may include:

Dream messages that guide you: God may send you guidance through your dreams to help you better understand situations, make wise choices, and take next steps for positive change. Often, such dreams will help you figure out how to solve the problems you encounter. Madame C.J. Walker, who invented a revolutionary hair care product, prayed for help to solve the problem of her own hair falling out. Then she dreamed of an angel who showed her the specific ingredients she needed to create a product that would help. That guidance led her to solve that problem for many people by creating a new product. God may guide you to the next steps you can take to overcome a problem in your own life, such as healing a broken relationship or finding a new job. Or, God may communicate with you about using your talents in fresh ways by showing you a project he wants you to pursue – at work, at church, at a charity, etc.

Dream messages that inspire you: God may send you creative inspiration through a dream. You may receive innovative ideas for all sorts of projects: writing, composing music, drawing, cooking, baking, coding software, building something, and much more. Throughout history, many artistic projects and scientific breakthroughs have resulted from dreams. Niels Bohr, a physicist who won a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of the atom, had first dreamed about the atom’s structure and then confirmed his hypothesis through lab tests. God has given you distinctive talents that he wants you to use to contribute to our world. He will send you all the inspiration you need to do so, and those awe-inspiring ideas may come through your dreams.

Dream messages that encourage you: God often sends encouragement through dreams. This type of dream blesses you with peace when you’re worried about something or confidence when you’re facing a risk God wants you to take. Edwin Moses, who ran in Olympic track and field competitions, reported he had several encouraging dreams before a 400-meter hurdling race. He said those dreams gave him both the peace and confidence he needed to run well. Moses’ dreams featured numbers indicating the race’s date and his running time. During the race, Moses broke a world record. If you need encouragement about any challenging circumstances – from a health issue to a conflict with someone – God may reassure you through a dream that you can trust him to help you deal with the situation. If you think God is calling you to do something but you’re hesitant and afraid, God may encourage you through a dream to move forward with faith and rely on his strength.

Dreams messages that warn you: God may use your dreams to warn you about an important issue with consequences that are too dangerous to ignore. You may receive a divine warning about any situation that is threatening your spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical health. For example, you may dream about going to the doctor for a checkup if you have cancer that needs to be diagnosed in time to be treated. Or, if you have a nightmare about being chased, God may be alerting you to the fact that you're dealing with a dangerous amount of stress in your life and need to simplify your schedule. God may also warn you through dreams about a person you know who needs your help. In those types of warning dreams, God will show you something to urge you to reach out – such as a loved one struggling with an alcohol addiction at a bar, who needs your intervention to go to counseling or rehab.

Dream messages that heal you: God may communicate with you through dreams to heal your soul from something that has caused you trauma in the past. Bear Grylls, one of the world’s most famous adventurers, reported dreaming about falling for a full 18 months after he broke his back in a skydiving accident. As he prayed about those dreams, God helped him recover emotionally as well as physically. He put his faith in Jesus into action by working with his dreams to heal. If you need healing from anything that has caused you emotional pain, God can heal your anger, anxiety, or sadness by sending you healing dream messages.

How Learning from Your Dreams Can Lead You to Wonder and Purpose

When you’re asleep, you’re more open and receptive to new information and inspiration than when you’re awake. Your mind is free of distractions that can preoccupy your attention during busy daytime activities. You’re relaxed when you’re sleeping, so daytime stress won’t interfere with you tuning into what God has to say to you. You can also access information in your subconscious mind that your conscious mind hasn’t dealt with while you’re awake. You can truly reflect and learn while dreaming. Your dreams help you ponder your experiences and process your thoughts and feelings. Along the way, you can learn spiritual lessons that lead you closer to God.

In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I explain how we can discover the wonder of God’s work in our lives by paying attention to our dreams. If you have faith that God may communicate with you through dreams anytime, and if you’re regularly seeking to hear from God, you’re in the best position to notice God’s messages while you dream. At bedtime, be open to hearing from God in your dreams. You can pray about anything you would like to hear from God about before going to sleep. I share a story in the book about how I prayed about my late mother and God responded by sending a wondrous dream visitation from her. Many times, after praying for guidance, encouragement, or creative inspiration, I’ve received answers in my dreams. Invite God to send you a dream message about a specific topic by praying about it and then thinking about it as you drift off to sleep.

As you encounter wonder through your dreams, you can learn more about God’s purpose for your life. Every message you recall from a dream has the potential to teach you something valuable about walking with Jesus day by day. Don’t discount the importance of your dreams. They are much more than a collection of random thoughts. Dreams are experiences to help you learn and grow.

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How to Pray for Guidance about Christian Dream Interpretation

The Holy Spirit can always help you interpret your dreams. Your own feelings about your dreams are valid, but feelings alone can’t lead you to the correct interpretation of your dreams. In the book of Genesis, Joseph relied on the Holy Spirit to help people (including Egypt’s Pharaoh) interpret their dreams. Joseph pointed out in Genesis 40:8, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” Rather than guessing the meaning of your dreams, pray about the details you can remember about them.

Dreams often feature symbols. If you notice patterns occurring in your dreams in which the same symbol shows up multiple times, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what that symbol means. It may represent something that has a personal meaning for you – relating to someone or something specific in your life. Or, a symbol may have a universal meaning (as is often the case with colors, shapes, numbers, and well-known images). The Spirit will clarify symbolic meanings after you pray about them.

After you learn the meaning of a dream, pray for wisdom on how best to respond to that meaning. What next steps does God want you to take? Should you say something – talk to a specific person about the message in your dream? Should you do something – take action during your waking life on something you experienced in your dream? As you continue to pray and seek God, the answers will come to you.

Every dream you experience is a gift from God that you can open by prayerfully interpreting it. Enjoy the wonder of your dreams!

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headshot of author Whitney HoplerWhitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.

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