Why it is important to remember what God has said to you – and how to do it by keeping a summary list of dreams.
Do you record your night dreams but struggle to remember the messages in them?
This article explores from a biblical perspective why it is important to remember what God has said – and how to practically do it – by keeping a summary list of dreams.
I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.
- The importance of remembering your dreams
- Biblical reasons to remember what God has said
- Keeping a record of your dream messages
The importance of remembering your dreams
Up until now, most of my writing has been about the dream interpretation process. I have focused on recording dreams, understanding the symbolism, and relating them to real life. Most books and articles on dreams address these kinds of topics.
But none of this makes any difference unless we can remember the messages they contain – at the time we need them!
If you are taking your dreams seriously, if you believe God is speaking through them, and if you have put time and effort into interpreting them, then it is worth putting a plan into place to remember what God has said through them.
It is worth putting a plan in place to remember what God has said through your dreams.
Biblical reasons to remember what God has said
It is important to remember what God has said, whether that be through dreams or any other method. In the bible, we find whole sections that are just summaries of what God has done in the past and reminding people of the things He did and said. Here are some examples which you could check out:
- In Deuteronomy 1-3 Moses summarised to Israel everything that the Lord had done and said to them thus far.
- Psalms 105 and 106, are songs Israel could sing to remember what God had done for them
- Joshua 8:34 tells us how Joshua read aloud to Israel all the words of the law that God had spoken to Moses
- In Acts 7 Stephen summarised the history of Israel to give context to what was happening at that time.
- In Acts 26 Paul told his story and summarised what God had done; he did this numerous times in the New Testament for different groups of people.
We have our bible and the wonderful words it contains because people took what God did and said seriously and recorded it. They regularly read it, meditated on it, summarised it, remembered it and recounted it to one another. This is our example and inspiration.
An example from King Josiah
There is also a warning to us in the story of what happened to Israel at the time of the Kings. God had spoken many words to Israel which were recorded in the Book of the Law. This was passed down from one generation to another through the temple priests.
Sadly, over time there were some kings who strayed from God and forgot what He said – as did the people. There were some very serious words in the law – with serious consequences if they did not heed it, so it was very silly to have forgotten it.
King Josiah was a good king who tried to do what was right before God. During his reign, the High Priest discovered the Book of the Law hidden in the depths of the temple, full of God’s words to Israel which they had forgotten about – and the King was horrified when he discovered what they had been missing!
- 2 Kings 22:8-11, NASB Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” …And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king. When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.
Thankfully Josiah took the words seriously and acted on them – and things went well during his lifetime as a result.
Keeping a record of your dream messages
We have seen that it is wise and biblical to store up what God speaks to us so we can remind ourselves of it regularly – and silly to forget it!.
In the past I found that I would spend much time on my dreams, and sometimes have really useful dream messages and heavenly revelation. Sometimes the messages would be clear and direct! But afterwards, like the kings of Israel, I would soon forget what God had said.
What a shame to receive heavenly messages but not benefit from them because they lie buried in our dream journals!
Sometimes I would go back though my dream journal and find that the answers to what I had been going though were in there all along! What a shame to receive those messages but not benefit from them because they lay buried in my dream journals; I felt a bit like King Josiah!
Make a decision to remember what God says
I encourage you to learn from my mistakes. Make a decision to remember what God says to you, through your dreams and otherwise, and develop a system to help you do so.
Develop a system to help you remember the things God says to you – through your dreams and otherwise.
You can copy my system or develop your own. Your system must be:
- Easily accessible – so you can read it whenever you have a free moment.
- Concise – otherwise it can quickly become too much to read easily.
I dream most nights, and I want to remember the messages God gives me through them – so I have had to be very organised. In the rest of this article I will share the example of the system I have developed over the past 15 years.
Making a summary list of dreams
Early on in my dream interpretation journey I realised that it would be worth making a summary list of my dreams and what I thought God was saying; a list that I could just glance at from time to time to remind myself. It would mean I didn’t have to go through my detailed dream records and interpretation notes each time I wanted to think about it.
A summary list means we don’t have to go through all our detailed dream notes each time we want to remember what God has said.
So I started a spreadsheet that was separate from my detailed dream journal. In this spreadsheet I would list each dream by date, along with the title, and a brief summary of my initial interpretation idea.
A table format in a document would work just as well.
Here is a screenshot of what my list looks like. As you can see, I have developed a colour coding system to help me find things quickly:
Recording the dream title
By this stage of the dream interpretation process you will probably have already given your dream a title, but if not, now is a good time to do so! I wrote about this in my 3-step dream interpretation method article.
Here are the main points to think about:
- Choose a title that will help you remember the details of the dream itself. When you read the title, you want the dream to come back into your memory! I try to include key words that are unique to that specific dream and details to make it specific.
- Don’t be tempted to title the dream according to what you think it means, or you may have to change the title when you revise the interpretation (I know this from experience!!). Save the meaning/main message for the next column.
Check out the examples of titles in my dream list above.
Summarising the interpretation
I then try to summarise the dream interpretation in a single line to fit in the spreadsheet. I find this to be quite a good discipline, as it makes me think carefully about what is important and what is the one thing I want to remember.
Sometimes it means breaking a longer dream into individual scenes (you can see that some dates have several scenes in my spreadsheet) and treating each scene as a separate dream with a line and title of its own. I do this if a scene adds some important insight that I want to remember.
Including other information
I also add other important information, such as:
- Significant life events that help me when I look back – to ground my dreams in what was happening at the time.
- Other words from God. These could be prophetic words people have given me, bible verses that are speaking to me, and other things that God has been saying.
I colour these cells in beige (like the header panel) so I can easily distinguish them from my dreams.
Colour coding the list
We have already seen that I have a colour coding system for my dreams. Here is an explanation of the system I have developed:
- When I don’t know the meaning: Sometimes I don’t really know what a dream means; or I might have an idea but it doesn’t feel quite right. I have a colour system where I highlight those cells in blue: I either leave the cell blank or write an idea down but still highlight it in blue. I know when I read though my list that I need to go back to those dreams, and that I shouldn’t rely too much on what I wrote down!
- When a dream seems significant: Sometimes a dream seems more important; maybe it contains key insight for my situation; maybe it was a clear prophetic message, or a colourful dream that carried more weight than other dreams. I highlight those dreams in yellow, so I can quickly find them and remember the important messages contained in them.
- Timing elements: When there are timing clues in a dream, I highlight them in green. This helps me find those dreams quickly when I am trying to review what God is saying about timing. Often I will them go back to the original dream for more insight – but my lists means I can easily do that.
That is my system which has evolved over the years, but it works well. I hope you can take inspiration from it and develop your own system that works for you!
The bible is a great example of why we should summarise the things God has said in a suitable format so we can remember them. It would be a shame to interpret our dreams and then forget them at the time when we need them!
Some ideas we discussed for doing this are:
- Keeping a summary list of dreams with a date, title and one-line interpretation for each one.
- Adding prophetic words and important life events to the list.
- Colour coding the list for easy access later.
So why not give it a go?
If you already have a system for recording your dream messages in a way that helps you remember them, do share in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you do!
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The purpose of this blog is to provide solid biblical foundations for interpreting dreams, change mindsets in the church, and encourage others to make their own dream journey. I am primarily a writer and bible teacher – who loves dreams, and I hope you will be inspired to learn to interpret your own dreams.
It is not currently my aim to routinely engage in dream interpretations or provide training, except through writing blog posts. You can read my most up to date position on interpreting dreams here: Requests for dream interpretations.
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A simple introduction to the dream interpretation process in 3 easy-to-remember steps.
Reasons why you might not be able to remember your dreams anymore and what to do about it.
How reviewing your dreams regularly and learning from them is a vital key to becoming a confident dream interpreter.
- Where do I start when I have lots of dreams to interpret?
- Dream interpretation and the bible: Greek and Hebrew thinking
- Dream symbols: Rivers, seas, lakes and water – and what they mean
- Meeting Jesus in your dreams
- Engaging heaven in your dreams