Many questions come in that I wish I had time to fully answer, and some of the most commonly asked questions are the ones about deciphering God’s language — what God is speaking to you through dreams, signs, the Bible. Today’s post is an excerpt from the Dream Journal we created to help women steward what the Spirit of God is doing in their lives. We wanted to share this bit of information with you in hopes that it will help you as you learn to hear + recognize His voice. This guide was written for our Dream Journal, but the principles will help you greatly in hearing from God in any way He might choose to speak to you. I pray for a deeper knowing of Him, and fresh encounters, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
HOW DO I START?
1. Expect God to speak. If you don’t believe that God speaks, or that He wants to, you will not hear when He does. Unbelief will brush it off as “just my imagination”. Praying daily, “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief,” will help begin to open your heart to hear His voice.
2. Expect God to help you remember what He has given you. The dreams that are important will make a mark in your heart and memory. He will let you remember what He speaks to you. If you don’t remember what you dreamed, it most likely wasn’t from God and you don’t have to worry too much about it. If you feel like it was important, jot down what you remember and ask God to reveal the other details to you in His good time.
3. Record your dreams. Before you can understand your dreams, you must reflect on them. And before you can reflect on them you must be able to remember them. That is the purpose of having a dream journal. It makes it easy for you to record your dreams as soon as you wake up, even if it is the middle of the night. The longer it takes to record a dream, the less details you are likely to remember. If you are not in the habit of remembering or recording your dreams, be patient. It will probably take a little time to develop this ability.
4. Seek counsel. Share your dream with mature Christians you can trust, and write down what they think. You might start to find a pattern in their collective wisdom.
5. Study the Bible. Find out how biblical characters interpreted words and symbols in a dream context.
6. Use the dream interpretation guide. The list below is a compilation (non-exhaustive) of steps to accurate dream interpretation. They will help guide you as you begin to build your own library of dream language.
DREAM INTERPRETATION GUIDE
1. Is this dream from God, or is it just a dream? Sometimes we get a dream, vision, or even a “prophetic word” that comes from the flesh, not the spirit. These are influenced by our desires, feelings, and thoughts. It is very important to be highly discerning in this area and make sure that we’ve surrendered every aspect of our lives to God (read about how to do that here and here), otherwise we run the risk of walking and leading others in deception. The first thing to do when you get a dream or any other prophetic experience, is to prayerfully check that it is not simply a response of your flesh. In this aspect, it is better to err on the side of caution — if you make a mistake and it does turn out to be from God, He will send word to let you know that He has a message for you.
2. Simplify. Reduce the dream to its simplest form. Going into too much detail at first might lead you to lose sight of the big picture, the main point of God’s message to you. Don’t miss the forest for the trees. Keep it simple, step back and look at the broad big-picture details first. Keep to its simplest form, and you can build on that later if necessary.
3. Define the context. When trying to define the meanings of symbols in your dream, keep in mind that the symbols in a dream must be interpreted within the context of the dream. You will not get an accurate dream interpretation by defining a dream by its symbols. Symbols are defined by the dream. If you try to do it in reverse, you will end up with confusion and frustration. Please understand that hard and fast rules for symbols do not work. Symbols will be as varied as each person dreaming a dream. A symbol of a dog to a dog-lover would not be the same as the symbol of a dog to a person who was ferociously attacked. Therefore, look at the dream and think, “What does this symbol mean to me? How does it fit within this dream?”
4. Identify God’s repetitive language. A series of dreams in one night or over a consecutive period of time is usually just a varied representation of the same message. It is important to realize that repetitive dreams relate to the same message, or you will end up looking at them as isolated dreams, thereby risking misinterpretation of all of them. If the message is repeated over and over, it is good to take time to seek God about it. Is there any area in your heart that He’s trying to speak to that you’re just not hearing? He could be trying to get through to you.
5. Use basic analysis. All dreams should be interpreted on a personal basis before we can use it as a message to others. God always speaks in terms/analogies that are familiar to you, just as Jesus spoke in parables relevant to the times and people He lived with.
Some questions to ask:
- What does this person/object/place mean to me? What is their significance to me, personally?
- How did I feel in the dream? What was my primary emotion immediately after waking up from the dream?
- Is this dream also meant for someone else? If so, am I supposed to speak or intercede? If I am to speak, should I do it now or later?
6. Ask Holy Spirit. He is the source of wisdom and revelation. He is the Counselor. Ask Him to reveal the main message of the dream. He might want you to search out the details, or work it out in your life over time, but He will always reveal the big-picture message to help guide you. Ask Him for the main thought, then keep the main thought the main thought as you delve into the details (if necessary).
7. Read the Word. Dreams from God will never contradict His written Word. Also, an important key to understanding God’s language in dreams is to do a search in the Bible.
8. Seek wise counsel. Some dreams can have multiple layers of interpretation. Seek out those who can give you godly wisdom. We were made to be the body of Christ, and we must never think that we can do it all alone.
9. Remember the point of all dreams + visions. Questions are meant to woo us. They are intended to awaken a desire within us so that it gallivants us into pursuing answers… a search that will lead us deeper in to the heart of God, the answer of all answers. God uses dreams to get our attention when nothing else can. He slips past our natural defenses + mindsets, speaking to us in our dreams so we awake and begin to awaken to His love.
We pray that in learning to hear His voice, you will fall deeper in love with the Author of romance.
And! In celebration of this Valentine’s weekend, we are giving a 20% discount on the Dream Journal — we only have a couple of sales a year, so this would be your chance to get that dream journal into your hands! Simply use code BEMYVALENTINE by Monday, February 15th. Get the Dream Journal here.
I have always been so fascinated by dreams. This post is very interesting. Thanks for the intrigue!
I SO love dream interpretation! God truly does speak to us through them.
Your tips are wonderful, and it all starts with “Expect God to speak.” I find it helps to ask God for a dream right before sleeping. Funny thing–God answers 🙂
Dreams fascinate me both the good and bad ones. I’ve alway wander if they had hidden meanings.
When I was a kid my mom had a dream book that we would peruse for hours. The older I get the less I remember of my dreams, but there are some that stay with me. It’s worth examining, I think, what God is telling us while we sleep.
Fascinating! I can barely remember any of my dreams anymore. I’m always listening out for God’s voice. My parents were really into interpreting dreams while I was growing up- powerful!
Very good read. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing.
Love this!! I never thought of sketching my dreams before, I’ll have to try that! I also especially liked the questions to ask ourselves about the dream.
it’s been so long since i had any kind of dream to even remember
I keep a journal right next to my bed so when I wake up after a dream I can write it down while it is still fresh and the details are vivid. I love how God speaks. I was just sharing with a friend because it seems whenever I look at the time is 11:11 still working that one out…Great post!
I’ve always had vivid dreams that seem very real- I love the idea of this journal! How interesting!
I have always remembered most of my dreams in very vivid detail. There are even some dreams from my childhood that I can still remember. My husband thinks I am crazy because he NEVER remembers his dreams, but I love that I can remember mine. In the past I have used dream interpretation books, but have sometimes felt that they were more occultish so stopped. I do like the idea of keeping a dream journal though, I may have to start doing that. Thanks for the great post!
I love this sound wisdom! I was just sorting this out with a friend the other day and I love how you’ve very clearly outlined a process to begin understanding. I’m in the rarely dreaming camp, but I find that when I do they really get my attention because they are so rare. And I couldn’t agree more, hearing God always begins with expecting Him to speak.
I’ve been reading Perry Stone’s dream interpretation book. I believe that not all dreams are of God, but many are and we need to be aware. Prayer and worship will help us to be more sensitive to the Spirit.
I SO love dream interpretation! God truly does speak to us through them. Your tips are wonderful
i haven’t remembered my dreams- i wouldn’t know where to start
This is really interesting. I always have incredibly vivid and detailed dreams and it would be really fascinating to interpret them.
This is very interesting. I don’t remember my dreams much any more, but I love it when God speaks to us!
This was some great information. My husband and I often share dreams and this was a helpful guide to assist in evaluating our dreams. Thank you for the insight!
I really love this. I hardly remember my dreams lately. I wish I could remember them better.
So glad I found this! Thanks, Samantha!