Over the last two weeks, I have blogged about the importance of dreams, preparing to dream and how to record your dream. The first week I covered dreams in the Bible and some amazing dreams that people have had and how these dreams have helped influence society with their inventions, scientific discoveries, movies, books etc.
Last week I blogged about how to prepare for a dream and then how to document the dream. It is one thing to have a dream, but if you can’t remember it and don’t take the time to document it and uncover what the dream means, then you lose the full impact of the dream.
Today I want to unpack how you interpret your dreams and how God uses metaphors so that you can have a fuller understanding of that which God is trying to reveal to you.
Remember Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”
You may well find that most of your dreams are not literal. They are symbolic. God usually uses metaphors. A metaphor is a figure of speech where a word or a description is applied to an object eg God as a Father, God as a rock, God as a strong tower. They are all metaphors to describe God. When you understand the metaphor and look at what it is meaning or ‘similar’ to, it gives a greater depth and understanding to God, to the situation and to yourself.
The word ‘interpret’ in the Hebrew has two words which explain its meaning – pathar and pashar. Pathar relating to a mouth/opening and a cross (representing a symbol). Pashar relates to the understanding of a dream. Thus, when we interpret a dream, we are opening up the symbols of a dream and the understanding of a dream.
It is one thing to have a dream but if we don’t take the time to consider its meaning and interpret it, we are missing out on vital information from God.
There have been numerous times when my dreams have helped me understand what has happened in my life or have helped in various situations over the following days or months. Several times it has really helped me make important decisions as the wisdom gleaned from the dream was applicable to that which I was facing at the time.
As you record your dream, please take the time to also record how you felt when you first woke up. Even those times when the dream left you feeling confused or ‘yuck’, they can still be useful.
Are all dreams from God – no. The devil can also impact your dreams. Dreams reveal things about ourselves, God’s plans, the enemy’s plans for our lives, and they can also be a processing of past events or unresolved issues that we may well have ‘brushed’ over and felt that the event no longer impacts us. God, in His wisdom, knows far greater, and sometimes that may be the only way we will start to process the past hurt or situation.
Steps to Interpret your dream:
- Pray. As your read through what you have written down, pray about the various aspects. Pray for more revelation. Pray about how to apply what you learn to your life. Work with the Holy Spirit in the interpretation and application to your life. Genesis 40:8b says, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”
- Summarize the dream as if you were telling a story in 30 seconds maximum. Thus, tell just the highlights and the repetitive details. Write this down as it helps you determine the important parts.
- Give your dream a Title. This helps in the future when you are wanting to remember and apply the dream but it also sums up the dream in a few words and again, it helps you to determine the most important aspect of the dream.
- Are you an active participant in the dream or are you looking on as an outsider, like an observer? Sometimes the observer role indicates that it is a call to intercede.
- What is the main focus or the primary element?
- Look at the context / setting. Is it about you, your family, your career, relationships, ministry? What is the general theme or main focus?
- Who is in the dream? Most times, the people in your dream do not represent those people in your actual life. Most times, those people are symbolic. Look at the role or what that person means to you in your life – are they a close friend, a mentor, a daughter-like figure, a dad? Look at that relationship from a biblical or metaphorical perspective eg dad usually represents Heavenly Father. One night I had a dream about my High School Principle who was called Mr Cross. The dream was not about Mr Cross. Mr Cross in the dream represented Jesus who died on the cross. Is the person’s name a play on words? Does it represent a generation or age group or a type of person?
- Develop your own unique dream vocabulary. God speaks to us each as individuals. He doesn’t treat us all the same. Thus, your dream vocabulary will not be the same as mine. An example is that a black dog to you might represent your pet dog growing up who was black. As soon as I think of black dog I think of depression. Two vastly different meanings. That doesn’t mean that I can’t use helpful books (And one book I highly recommend is ‘The Divinity Code to Understanding your dreams and visions’ by Adam F. Thompson and Adrian Beale. (A huge plus is that these men are from Australia so have both American and Australian language in it.) I find that God often uses puns with me. Eg to let = toilet; Russian man – rushing around,
- Recognise that there is usually multiple interpretations and levels that can be gleaned. Remember, God is in the details. On the other hand, please don’t get stuck in the nitty gritty details and go off on a rabbit trail.
- List out the main 5-7 major points / symbols from the dream. Look at those that carry the most ‘weight’. Then start to unpack them. With metaphors, look at the hidden meaning or truth that each metaphor could represent.
- Vehicles in a dream usually represent ministry or influence. Thus, if on a bicycle, it is referring to a solo role or individual calling that doesn’t go far very quickly ie locally based; a car – small ministry. If you are driving, it may be your ministry. Where you sit is important eg back seat – taking a back seat etc; a bus – a larger ministry etc Likewise, buildings, houses and rooms within a house have meanings eg bedroom usually signifies intimacy; kitchen – spiritual preparation
- Ask Holy Spirit to confirm within you the meaning or seek advice.
- Apply the outcome, if possible.
Dream interpretation is really an invitation to draw closer to God. Using discernment is so important.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
Every week I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to practice to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.
1. Children / Families Activation: Prepare some different flavours for the family to taste eg sweet, sour, spicy, bland, bitter. Even add in some various textures. Place on the table. Ask each person to taste the different food, all tasting the same dish/food at the same time. Spend some time each sharing what aspect of God, themself or some else it reminds them of and why.
2. Group Activation: Ask group members to pair up. Ask them to hear/see/sense from God an image of a ‘sign’ from God for their partner. Prophesy over each other what God said.
3. Beginner Activation: Pick up an item of stationary. Ask God to reveal to you something about Himself for you through that item.
4. Intermediate Activation: Deliberately go past a street sign today. Spend a few moments taking note of the street sign and asking God to speak to you about the application of the street sign and something in your life or someone else’s life. Turn it into a prophecy and declare it out aloud.
5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to highlight a high profile celebrity to you and begin to spend time each day seeking God’s heart for this person. Prophesy out aloud into the atmosphere what God shares with you, especially about this person’s character and heart. Start interceding for this person.