Guidelines for Successfully Interpreting Spiritual Dreams
By Bryan Carraway
Those who have had a dream
which they believe to be from God, called "spiritual dreams,"
know how frustrating they can sometimes be. These dreams are often
full of intimidating and bizarre symbolism which leave us scratching
our heads asking, "Lord, what in the world are you trying
to tell me through this?!"
As one who has long been fascinated by this subject and who has
been interpreting dreams for many years I want to share with you
some guidelines which will greatly help you in interpreting your
dreams and the dreams of others.
The most common mistake is to interpret our spiritual dreams
literally. Often a woman will dream of being raped. This most
often represents not a criminal act which is soon to occur, but
rather an emotional or spiritual robbing of something near and
dear to the person. Dreams are very cryptic and symbolic in nature
and we must be careful to know when to take an element literally
and when to see it as representative of something else.
Be aware that individuals can sometimes represent types of
people rather than themselves. For example, you repeatedly
dream of the same person from your high school days they could
be representing a certain type or class of person (the wild party
girl, the neglected social outcast, etc.). God will often use
a person you have strong opinions of (negative or positive) to
represent types of sin or types of generations or age groups He's
directing you to minister to. The valedictorian of my senior class
represents my generation, and she appears in my dreams every few
years when God is communicating messages to me on this subject.
When I dream of Amy Clark I know I immediately have part of the
Always interpret the dream within the overall context of the
emotion you felt upon waking. For instance, one person may
dream of standing in the midst of rushing water which is rising
higher and higher. Two people can have that same dream and one
awakens terrified of drowning while another has total peace. The
water in one dream may represent impending doom and judgment while
in the other it represents the power of the Holy Spirit. One has
to analyze their emotional reaction to the dream. When you are
first awakened are you excited, empowered, scared, or confused?
If you are just confused with no overtly positive or negative
impression then you'll realize that this third guideline doesn't
help you and you'll be glad this article was free! No seriously,
this just means you'll have to struggle a little harder to arrive
at the dream's meaning, but you can still decode it with a little
time and prayer.
There are no universal standard meanings for the symbols in
your dreams. Besides a few common symbols that are universal,
we each have our own unique "dream vocabulary" that
we get the joy of discovering over time. We all seem to have particularly
unique symbols for the demonic realm. In my mother in law's dreams
they're alligators, in others' dreams they're snakes, in mine
they're bearded, tattooed men on motorcycles! It's a long story
- don't ask. For someone who grew up with dogs that were treated
like family members, dogs in their dreams could represent safety
and divine oversight. For a person who was mauled as a child and
is terrified of dogs today, the presence of a dog in their dream
could be indicative of danger or an attack from the enemy. The
same holds true for common objects, colors, animals, or geographic
locations. Every person's dream vocabulary is unique and has to
be gradually discerned.
I hope these four guidelines will help you in better interpreting
your dreams. But these guidelines will be useless if you don't
record your dreams. Be sure to keep a notebook next to the bed
or a recording device for later dictation and record the dream
immediately upon awakening. Rest assured that when you ask God
for wisdom in interpreting your dreams, He will provide it. Also
be encouraged that He has gifted some in the Body of Christ with
a specific gift of dream interpretation and they can be very helpful
for especially difficult dreams.
Bryan Carraway holds a master's degree in Practical Theology
from Regent University. Over the last ten years he has served
churches in Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia. He ministers in churches
today via his teaching/preaching ministry with his message of
sanctification and the fuller life in Christ.
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