Have you ever wanted to ask God a question?
I often read the gospels and feel envious of those first disciples – of the fact that they could ask Jesus a question and get a direct answer.
If that’s you – then I’ve got great news for you! Dreams can be a stepping stone to help you get nearer to that level of relationship. You can get answers to your questions! Read on to find out how!
Introduction: Talking with Jesus
Recently I saw this image from The Chosen TV series. It depicts Jesus walking and talking with His disciple, Matthew:
I must admit to being envious: As a Christian, I know that Jesus changed everything when He came. After the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, each of us gained the potential to have a close relationship with God.
However, it hasn’t been like that for me!
For most of my life, my main experience of God was reading about Him in the bible. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the bible; but I wanted to personally connect with God). I also had vague impressions and feelings that I thought might be the Holy Spirit. It was all very unsatisfactory.
Then I realised God speaks through dreams. That changed everything! I could now gain much more insight into what God was saying to me – and there was a sense of an ongoing conversation as I prayed about them.
But it was still frustrating, as my dreams could be hard to understand, and I still had periods of confusion as a result.
A shift in thinking about dreams
Lately I have undergone a huge shift in the way I approach dreams. It may appear – on the surface – to be of little consequence. But it’s a big thing. A REALLY big thing!
The old way: God always starts the conversation
One of the things I have always loved about dreams is that listening to them allows God to initiate conversations and choose what we talk about it in my prayer times.
So often I think we come to God with all our preconceived ideas and end up doing all the talking. For me, dreams were like me saying to God, ‘Ok, I’m listening. Tell me whatever is on your mind!’
I have used this approach to dreams for the past fifteen years.
The frustrations of the old way
The trouble is, I have often got very frustrated.
One of the keys to understanding a dream is identifying what area of your life the dream is about (i.e. considering the context). Sometimes this is obvious, but sometimes it isn’t.
My problem is that I’ve always got lots of things going on in my life. I suspect this is true for most people, particularly young mums who have to juggle many roles at the same time.
How on earth do we work out what area of our busy lives a dream is about?
For example, at any given time I could be thinking about my job, my family, my church group, my deepest desires, my fears, the things I’m reading, my hobbies, my relationship with God, my purpose and destiny, my friends, my deepest anxieties, my attitude, my shopping list, or any number of other things!
No wonder it takes ages to identify what a dream is about!
The new way: Being more intentional
Recently God has switched this around for me. I have felt an urging to be more intentional in the way I pray before I go to bed.
So, before I go to sleep, I pray for a few minutes, reflecting on the day, and consider what is really on my mind at that time. What do I need to know from God that will help me to have peace about my life, or make a good decisions at that time?
Over the past month I have been doing this. And what do you know? God has been answering my questions!
God has been answering my questions!
Asking God Questions: The results!
So, what does this look like? What happened when I started asking God questions? Here are some points which stand out from my experiences:
1. Assuming my dream is the answer
Sometimes I have had to dig a little deeper to find the answer to my question in the dream, when initially it didn’t seem to be answering it.
But when I chose to assume that it could be the answer to my question – and reframed the dream around that – then suddenly I understood the symbolism.
Mostly, in those cases, the dream was my answer!
2. A deeper issue revealed
Sometimes the dream didn’t give me the obvious answer.
I discovered that my questions were often hiding a deeper issue – and of course God always goes for the underlying issue!
But once I recognised and understand the root issue, then all my questions answered themselves!
3. Too many questions
One time I couldn’t decide which question to ask because I had so many things going round in my head. I decided to just lay them all out, so I just prayed and left them all in God’s hands.
In the morning I had a very puzzling dream. But after pondering on it for most of the day, I suddenly realised that God had managed to answer all my questions in one dream! I think He was showing off!!
4. Letting God decide?
Eventually I decided to leave things open-ended, as I was tired of thinking up questions. I said to God, ‘You decide what to talk about tonight.’
I woke up with a dream about using the Google Search engine. I dreamed I was typing in a search query. Someone told me to add more information to make the search more specific, as I would get better results that way.
So, when I let God start the conversation, He was telling me to get even more specific with my questions!
Some biblical foundations
You might think that this is fantastic – which it is. But I have really struggled with this concept. I have a nagging doubt in my mind that I shouldn’t really be doing it, even though God prompted me to.
So, why have I struggled with it so much?
On reflection, I realise that church culture has taught me to remain humble and submissive; to never presume to tell God what to say; to never demand a prophetic word; and to leave all the initiative to God.
Of course, humility and submission are noble traits in themselves, and we certainly don’t want to try and impose our own soulish will on our dreams. But have we taken this too far?
God is sending me a different message. In effect, He is saying:
“I want a relationship with you, I am interested in what you have to say. I want to have a conversation with you. I want to answer your questions. l am listening.”
This is exciting because it gets us nearer to God’s original intent for humanity.
The example of Adam and Eve
In Genesis 3 we can see that God used to regularly walk in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve – just like the picture I shared of Matthew and Jesus talking together. Consider this: when two people are walking together, they listen to each other!
When two people are talking together they listen to one another.
If I was talking face to face with Jesus right now, just like His first disciples did, then I could ask Him questions and He would answer – and I think He would enjoy answering!
So, here’s the bottom line: We are walking and talking with Jesus! He really is here, and He really will respond to our questions and ideas. And dreams are one of the tools we have available – to help us have a more direct, living relationship with God.
We are walking and talking with Jesus. He really is here!
It was always God’s intention that we should have a walking-talking relationship with Him.
The example of Nicodemus
In John 3 we have a lovely story of how Jesus made time to listen to Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee – a religious teacher; and he had lots of questions for Jesus! He basically wanted to know for sure whether Jesus had come from God.
Notice how, after listening to Nicodemus, Jesus, and then blew Hs mind with the answers he gave. They were so profound that Nicodemus didn’t understand. He probably had to go away and pray about it for some time before he grasped what Jesus was saying – and he may not have realised fully until after the resurrection.
Jesus knew what the real issue was. Nicodemus didn’t just need a ‘yes or no’ answer (although he might have thought he did). He needed to really understand the spiritual issues that were at play, and the true reason why Jesus had come
Nicodemus got more than he came for! The same thing often happens to us when God answers our questions through dreams! We might not get the answer we are expecting, but we will get the real answer that we need.
Nicodemus got more than he came for – and so do we!
God always listens to us – but often takes our thinking to a whole new level with His answer!
Here is a wonderful scene from The Chosen TV series, which imagines what the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus might have been like:
The example of Peter and John
There is another example in John 21:20-22, where Peter asked Jesus directly about John’s future.
Jesus gave an even more direct answer. He said, ‘What is that to you? Follow me!’. He basically told Peter that John’s destiny was none of his business! But He did answer Peter, and he did give Peter some insight into his own future.
In the same way, we can’t trick God into telling us things He doesn’t want to; He will tell us what is appropriate for us to know. And sometimes, He will not give an answer, but He will tell us what we do need to know instead!
God is perfectly able to say, ‘I can’t tell you this’, so we don’t need to worry about asking the wrong questions. He will tell us what we do need to know instead.
The example of the Pharisees
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees and teachers of the law tried to trick Jesus with silly questions. They wanted to catch him out.
If you read the chapter yourself, you will see how skilfully Jesus answered those questions! He didn’t dodge the questions. He answered them all – but in such a way that it ended up challenging the people asking!
Sometimes He even answered their questions by asking them a question!
We can expect God to do similar things with us.
So we cannot catch Jesus out by asking Him questions; either my intent or my mistake. He knows how to skilfully answer all our questions for the best outcome.
The example of the disciples
My final point is that God is perfectly able to start a new conversation through a dream – if that’s what’s needed.
Consider the example of the disciples in Luke 22:24-27. They were discussing among themselves which one of them was the greatest. Jesus knew what they were thinking – and jumped in with some direct teaching.
He didn’t just give them a reprimand – He gave them a new way of thinking. He inspired them with a vision of a heavenly kingdom. He turned their thinking upside down – to a place where the greatest leader must be like a servant.
And this is what God does with us. He sees what is in our hearts, and then upgrades our thinking with a better vision!
We don’t need to worry about cramping God’s style by asking questions – He is perfectly capable of starting a new dream conversation!
Be like little children
Jesus also exhorted His followers to become like little children (Matthew 18:3).
And don’t children continually ask questions?? What better example do we need?
Here is a another lovely little scene from The Chosen, which imagines what it might have been like as Jesus welcomed the little children. It depicts Him answering their questions.
I urge you to watch this – it is beautiful.
Notice how tenderly and wisely He answers them. Notice how He always lifts their thinking to a higher place. Notice how He loves spending time with them:
Will God do this for me?
Of course He will! He is the Eternal Father (Isaiah 9:6) – and we are His dearly beloved children. He will do for us what he did for Nicodemus, the children – and all the other bible illustrations that we looked at.
I think that scene from The Chosen illustrates so well God’s heart in all this – as revealed throughout the bible:
- God makes time to listen to our questions;
- He is kind, but challenging all at the same time;
- Our question so often turns into a God-encounter!
There are many more examples throughout the bible. Many of the psalms start with questions, and then end up with the writer shifting their thinking – to align with God’s perspective.
Why not look out for some other bible examples yourself?
If you are still feeling worried, there are some heart checks that you can apply, to make sure your attitude is right:
- Ask genuine questions – ones that really matter to you
- Check you’re not just trying to make God say what you want to hear
- Keep humble and submissive in attitude – remember that God is God!
- Keep an open mind as you listen for the answer
- Keep seeking to understand God’s heart and know Him better
Also, you could make your question a topic of prayer before you go to bed! Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal the real questions that God longs to answer – and ask those ones!
You could pray about what questions to ask, and ask God’s Spirit to search your heart. Come up with questions together!
And finally – there are some general safeguards that we can all take to make sure our foundation for dream interpretation is good. These are:
- Walk in relationship with your Heavenly Father
- Get familiar with God’s voice through the bible
- Recognise that Jesus is the door
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit
- Connect with other people who value dreams
I expanded on these points in this article…
Real dream example
I had this dream during my time of asking questions. For several months I had been struggling to understand my dreams, and was feeling like giving up. I had partly abandoned trying to get strategies for my blog through my dreams, and was looking for courses and other help on the internet.
The question deep in my heart was, ‘Why does understanding my dreams have to be so difficult?’ I awoke with this dream.
Dream: My son’s girlfriend and a light switch
I dreamed that we were in holiday in the US, in a hotel room. My son was there with his a girlfriend.
The light switch to the bathroom was too high up for his girlfriend to reach – unless she stood on tiptoes. However the general power socket was at a lower level and easy to reach.
They asked if we could give them a lift to the airport to fly home. But we realised that by doing so she would have to leave her car behind. I said it would be better for them to drive down through America in her car, even though it would take a longer time.
The light switch represented understanding (‘seeing the light’). A bathroom represents a change in thinking. So God was saying that my dreams are difficult to understand when He is trying to shift my thinking.
The other power socket was at normal level and easy to reach. Indicating that normally I should be able to understand my dreams.
The car represented the vehicle that would take me where I needed to go. In this case, my own experiences with dreams was my vehicle! If I abandoned my dream journey, then I would lose my very message!
This dream reminded me that if I gave up on dreams as my source of guidance, I would be giving up on my core message! It would be better for me to take the time to understand them than to look for strategies elsewhere.
It also explained why things had been so tough to understand. God was trying to shift my thinking in some areas! Once I got through that phase, my everyday dreams would become easier to understand again.
As you can imagine, that dream gave me so much relief! God answered my question and gave me hope for change. He gave me a higher perspective and a renewed vision that I can hold onto as I continue this journey.
God longs to do similar things for you too – every day!
So, to our original question: Can we ask God questions and expect real answers in our dreams?
However, we might get more than we bargained for, and the answer will probably stretch and reshape our thinking!
We have addressed some common fears that might stop us asking God questions:
- Fear: lt might be presumptuous to ask a question.
Truth: God loves to hear from us;
- Fear: I might hinder God from saying what He wants.
Truth: He can easily start (or steer) a conversation if He wants to.
We have discovered some advantages of asking God specific questions, and expecting Him to answer them in our dreams:
- We have a clearer starting point for understanding our dreams.
- We enhance our day-by-day, living relationship with God!
Why not give it a try?
Finally, if you feel inspired to follow this up – then go ahead and give it a try:
- You could start by asking God whether it’s OK to ask Him specific questions (if that’s something you’re not sure about).
- Or you could go even further back to basics – and ask Him whether He wants to speak to you through your dreams!
- Aim to keep your questions simple and genuine, and related to your own life.
So, why not:
- Prayerfully ask God a question, and then see what dreams you have that night.
- Record what happens, and the answers He gives you.
If you have been inspired by this article and what to know more about understanding dreams, then do get in touch. You can also check out my resources page for some helpful ideas.
More on a similar theme
How can we begin to interpret our dreams? This article explains one of the key concepts: Understanding our dreams as night parables.
Practical tips for busy people – to help you remember your dreams, including different ways to record them.
Are dreams the result of my mind processing the day, or a side effect from eating too much cheese? Or do they actually contain useful communications from God Himself? One day I decided to put dreams to the test.