Dreams are a specific portion of the prophetic ministry; they are not limited only to the prophetically gifted. (Pexels/Burak Kebapci)

Dreams are known as "the sleep language," and since the time of creation God has brought divine revelation to mortal men and women while they are sleeping. Scripture even calls a prophet a "dreamer of dreams" (see Deut. 13:1; Num. 12:6). Many Christians hold the mistaken impression that prophetic dream encounters are reserved for a small, elite group of especially sensitive or gifted people. But this simply is not the case.

Dreams are a specific portion of the prophetic ministry; they are not limited only to the prophetically gifted. Joel 2:28 says, "And it will be that, afterwards, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions" (Joel 2:28). This Scripture was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost and continues to be fulfilled in our own day. It is time for the church to return to a biblical understanding of dreams as an avenue of discerning God's voice.

For God [does reveal His will; He] speaks not only once, but more than once, even though men do not regard it [including you, Job]. [One may hear God's voice] in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men while slumbering upon the bed, then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction [terrifying them with warnings] (Job 33:14-16, AMPC).

I can testify personally that God has communicated and ministered to me in amazing ways through dreams. One of my delights is to review my dream logs and remember how God has spoken and blessed me with impartation over the years. As we go through life day by day, these dreams often seem minor compared to God's more dramatic visitations. But when we take time to look back, we can see how faithful God has been and how much He has given to us. Dreams can be a tremendous, awesome revelation of how much He loves us and cares about even the most microscopic parts of our lives.

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Dreams With a Purpose

Dreams are often extremely practical. For example, the Lord has used dreams to heal my emotions and give power to my personal ministry. Through dreams, the Holy Spirit enhanced my ability to open my eyes of faith and see myself as God does. Also through dreams is where I first began to carry the "burden of the Lord" of prophetic intercession in compassion for others. Many people in our modern Western culture treat dreams as foolish or even demonic. But they don't know what they are missing!

The entire realm of prophecy, prophetic dreams and visions is openly supernatural and, for that reason alone, is too quickly set aside in our age driven by logic and knowledge.

Prophetic dreams are much like pregnancy and childbirth. When God speaks to us through a dream—or in one of His many other revelatory ways—it is like carrying a baby. In the natural, an expectant mother has no idea what her baby will look like until she sees the final product after birth. Although aware that a new life is growing inside her belly, she does not know if the child will have blonde, black, brown or red hair or will be intellectual, athletic or mechanically minded. What she does know for certain is that God has deposited new life in her, and as a mother she loves that life. Everything inside her is committed to guarding and caring for the new life that God has entrusted to her.

The same is true of prophetic dreams. When God gives us dreams, we have no idea what the end result will be. We must patiently and carefully carry the dream that God has conceived in us until He brings it to birth. When the fullness of time comes, we also receive a full understanding of the dream's meaning. What we do need to know is how to respond when a dream comes.

For me, this sort of "hands-off" surrender attitude has been key to the entire realm of spiritual dreams and revelation. Who better to interpret and fulfill our dream than the One who gave it to us? Drawing closer to God should be our heart's cry for any dream experience or supernatural encounter. If the experience doesn't bring us closer to Jesus, help us understand the work of the Cross, and become more firmly rooted in God's love, then we need to seriously question its validity and source.

Log Your Dreams

Because prophetic dreams can be so significant, keeping careful account of them is important. For this reason, I strongly encourage recording your dreams in a journal. Through our studies and our own experience—and sharing with others who are well-versed in dreams, visions and the prophetic realm—I have learned that as you seek God, He will often create a unique dream language reserved for just you and Him.

We do not serve a "cookie-cutter" God. He longs for a unique and individual relationship with each of us, so He often speaks to us using symbols or memories—either from our individual past or private thoughts, which are known only to Him and us. Over a period of time, He will teach each of us our spiritual alphabet, and logging dreams is one of these teaching tools.

A Word of Wisdom

As much as I appreciate dream encounters, I want to share a caution from Ecclesiastes 5:7 (NASB) "For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness." Although God gives us dreams for specific purposes and reasons, He also has given us a more sure word of prophecy in the Bible (see 2 Pet. 1:10). Life consists of much more than dreams. God warns us not to base our lives or decisions on dreams alone.

Here is the main point: Dreams and visions are wonderful, but our life is more than just dreams and visions. Our life is in our Master, Jesus Christ. Someone may reveal true and accurate information and still be a deceptive tool of the enemy to seduce us and draw us in by fascination, and lead us away from Christ.

We can't live in dreams, as wonderful as they may appear to be. If all you are doing is studying your dreams and seeking more of them, you are missing God's perfect will for your life. Seek the Giver of dreams first, and everything else in your life—including your spiritual dreams— will fall into its proper place and order. Oh, how I love the revelatory and supernatural ways of God! But I am not addicted to them as my sole means of supply, encouragement and life.

I thank the Lord that I have His sure Word of prophecy—the Bible—that I can turn to every day. Yes, I am so grateful for the dreams, but I do not seek for gifts; I seek the giver and Creator! When I get Him, I get everything! Spend a few moments reflecting on the significance of dreams in your life, and then lift up this prayer to the Lord.

Prayer of Desire and Wisdom

Father, I need and desire these revelatory ways in my life. I desire both the spirit of wisdom and revelation of You, Lord Jesus. Counsel me in the night with prophetic dreams. Raise up Your Josephs and Daniels for our day. Pour out Your prophetic presence on this generation and fulfill the promises of Joel for the honor of Your great name. Amen.

Dr. James W. Goll is the founder of God Encounters Ministries, an award-winning author and communications trainer and has ministered in over 50 nations. For information on his webinars and online classes, visit godencounters.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.

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