Experts tell us that everyone dreams, even though we don’t remember them all the time.
If, as I believe, God speaks through dreams, then that opens up the field for every single human being on the planet to be able to personally hear from their Creator. In this article I explore this idea further.
To believe or not to believe
I have believed in God for as long as I can remember, although I have had wobbles of faith at various times of my life. In my younger days I would spend hours going through all the evidence in my mind and I would keep coming to the same result: that the evidence does indeed point to the existence of a loving God who wants to be friends with us, as described in the bible. This was somewhat of a relief, because I found the idea of a world without such a God a terrifying thought. However I did struggle for a long time to find a bona fide connection with God.
Since those days I have developed more of a relationship with God, but it has come through constant seeking. My experience was like Proverbs 8:16 which says, “Those who diligently seek me will find me,” and I was very diligent.
Those who diligently seek me will find me.
Despite my own experience, I am well aware that from an intellectual point of view it is possible to argue convincingly for a different or even opposite opinion and deny the existence of God.
A puzzling question
This leads to a puzzling question. Surely, if (as many people think) God is real and desires to be in a relationship with us, then why is it so easy to miss Him? Why is it so easy to live our lives as though He doesn’t exist? Why did it take me so long to ‘find’ Him? It doesn’t seem to add up.
Surely there must be some way of God communicating to all of humanity; a way that gets around all the hurdles of our ideas, preconceptions, world views and prejudices; a place where anyone can receive direct communication from God even if they have nobody in their environment to point them in the right direction. It only seems fair, after all, that this should be the case. I believe that there is a way, and that one such way is through our night dreams.
Some common ground
There are many different opinions about what dreams might mean. They have been studied as a branch of psychology, philosophically and scientifically, and they have been the focus of religions and spiritual movements.
There may be disagreement about the meaning of dreams, but one thing is certain: everybody dreams. It is known that dreams usually occur during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep. Most people have at least several dreams in a night, however dreams can be very quickly forgotten. If you don’t wake up shortly after a dream you are unlikely to remember it. (Google ‘everybody dreams’ where you can find many references to this subject.)
The mystery of dreams
So we can at least agree that dreams are common to humanity, and that they are also somewhat of a mystery. Therefore it seems entirely credible to me that science may be overlooking something, namely this: The possibility that some of our dreams are coming from an external source rather than our own subconscious minds, a ‘higher power’ if you like, and that they are mainly speaking to our spirits, rather than our minds.
I am not a researcher who is able to study dreams in a scientific way, but I have pursued a relationship with God and spiritual truths for 40 years, so that is where my experience lies. My personal observation is that I struggle to connect with God when I am awake, but when I am asleep I am more spiritually aware.
“I struggle to connect with God when I am awake, but when I am asleep I am more spiritually aware.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23 describes us as having a body, soul and spirit. In that context, our spirit refers to the part of us that can relate to the spiritual world and connect to God. Commonly our soul is thought to include our mind, will and emotions, and is the unseen part of us that is able to bridge the gap between our natural body and our spirit. My feeling is that when we sleep our mind becomes less dominant, and our spirit becomes more receptive to heavenly messages. When we awake we can often remember these encounters for a short period of time.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23
A biblical perspective
This idea would seem to be confirmed by the bible. One only has to look at the many examples of dreams found within its pages. There are also some other hints which suggest that they thought dreams were a window to the spiritual realm.
Take for example the book of Job, which is thought to be one of the older books in the bible, possibly written around the time of the patriarchs such as Abraham. This comment from one of Job’s friends gives us insight into how dreams were viewed in the culture of that time:
King David picks up this theme in Psalm 16:7, saying, “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me”. The word heart is sometimes translated ‘mind’, but literally means ‘kidneys’, and figuratively represents our inner man (as per Strongs and NASB footnote).
In Psalm 17:3 David says, “You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night…” and he concludes in verse 17, “… I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake,” which suggests that much of this process was happening while he was asleep.
In the Old Testament it seems that it was expected that prophets would hear from God in dreams. For example Numbers 12:6 says, “if there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream”
“If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.”
However after Jesus came the situation changed. Through His death and resurrection we now have His Spirit living in us. How much more then should we expect to hear from God in our dreams, as well as through many other ways?
In Acts 2 Peter is quoting the book of Joel, saying, “‘And it shall be in the last days’, God says, ‘that I will put forth my Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters shall prophesy! And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams.’” This is referring to the the new covenant era which Jesus instigated and that we are now living in; a time where that which was once only available to a few prophets is now available to all mankind.
Be encouraged: All means all! I take heart from the fact that young and old are mentioned, as are men and women. All ages. All people. Everybody.
For those of you who are followers of Jesus like me, this is encouraging. Not everyone has a well developed prophetic gift, able to see visions and the like, or hear God’s voice clearly. But everyone dreams. That opens up the playing field. Dreams are usually metaphorical, and in my opinion can be pretty similar in style to some of the symbolic ‘night visions’ I see recorded by prophets in the bible. That means all of us have a chance of getting in on the action and receiving information from God, gift or no gift.
For those who don’t know Jesus, or are not sure yet if you believe in God, be encouraged too. The bible records the dreams of some people who did not believe, for example Pharoah’s dreams in Genesis 41, and King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams in the book of Daniel. In fact Nebuchadnezzar became a believer in God after the prophecy in one of his dreams came true. His dream helped him to come know God, and his testimony is recorded in his own words in Daniel chapter 4. So it seems that you don’t need to know God to hear from Him in a dream, and in fact they can be a means of meeting Him.
You don’t need to know God in order to hear from Him in a dream. In fact dreams can be a means of meeting Him.
I hope that whether or not you believe in God I have awakened a curiosity in you. I hope that the next time you go to sleep, you might, just might, consider the possibility that communications from heaven could be awaiting you. And I hope that some of you will even take a pen and paper and leave it by your bed to write down your dreams, so the memories are captured and not forgotten.
Most of all I pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened so that you are able to receive every good thing that God desires for you. Be blessed.
- Best bible-based dream interpretation resources – for Christians
- Dream symbols: Right, left, front, and back – and what they mean
- Am I crazy to believe God is speaking though my dreams?
- How I learned to interpret dreams while working, raising 3 boys, and running a church!
- Dream symbols: The colour green and what it means