Pay Attention to Your Dreams

One of my favorite parts of living happens when I’m asleep and I dream…

This Christmas, I was reminded how important dreams were to the Christmas story. If Joseph and the Wise Men hadn’t paid attention to their dreams, Christmas would have been ruined.

Then I was chatting with someone who said they categorize their dreams as “from God, or not from God.” Dreams of Jesus, an angel, or a Voice should be given attention, but other dreams they rarely paid attention to.

How do you categorize your dreams? Which ones do you discard, and which do you pay attention to?

After reflecting on this question more, I realize that I pay much more attention to my dreams now than I used to. This is mainly because I expect that most of my dreams are God’s blessing to me, even if I don’t see Jesus or an angel in them.

Here are some examples of why I love to go to sleep at night, expecting good dreams from God:

Training Videos

God “gives wisdom in the night” (Ps.16:7) even as we sleep. As a young man, God gave me a series of dreams about defeating demons that trained me in spiritual warfare prayer. I’ve preached many sermons and led many prayer meetings in my dreams—were they preparing me for opportunities when I was awake? A friend of mine shared that in his dream a woman tried to seduce him, but he refused because he wanted to live to honor God. He told me, “I felt like this was practice so I could make the right choice if I ever faced such a situation.” Often I wake up and discuss my dream with God to see if He wanted me to learn something in my dream world that would help me face my awake world.

Seeing Loved Ones

Our kids are now grown and live across the ocean from us. My wife often travels for ministry, leaving me home alone. But God knows how to comfort me when I miss my family—He often gives me dreams where I get to spend precious time with my wife and kids. My father passed away over 30 years ago, and sometimes I get to spend time with him in dreams as well. This is such a gift to me from an understanding Heavenly Father.

Prayer Assignments

Often I’ll dream of someone facing a difficulty, and when I awake and discuss this with God, I feel His prompting to take them on as a prayer assignment. Sometimes I’ll check in with the person, other times just pray. One of my favorite stories of this happened to my wife. She dreamed of an old college friend from Liberia who was running through walls of fire, screaming for her to pray for him. She woke up and began to pray earnestly for his safety. Years later when they met, he shared that at that exact time, Liberia had descended into civil war, and as he ran for his life, he asked God to tell someone to pray for him!

Warnings

I once dreamed of an attack by a purple, green and orange dragon. A few days later, my pastor invited me to his office. I suspected nothing, so was surprised to see the entire elder board gathered there, holding a poster of a youth conference that I had taken our church youth group to. The promotional poster had splotches of bright purple, green and orange—I knew right away that I was about to be attacked, and that I should be very careful how I handled myself in this meeting. My neighbor shared about a dream that her husband got in a motorcycle accident. Later that day, his friends showed up inviting him to go out on a motorcycle adventure. He listened to his wife and refused, encouraging them to do a different activity that day. That evening some of them were injured in a motorcycle accident. Many people receive such warnings from God, but not all pay attention.

Promises

Many times God has given us promises in our dreams that kept us going through hard times, as we waited for their fulfillment. This includes promises about His plans for others that we are praying for. I have a friend named “Fool” who was on the run for attempted murder when I first met him. He had a tough life, and was in and out of prison for a variety of crimes. But when my son was just a child, he dreamed of an earthquake that split the ground. We were safe on one side of the crack and Fool was on the other. We called for him to jump, but he hesitated, and the crack grew wider. Finally at the last second Fool jumped, and barely made it to safety on our side. We’re still praying our son’s dream, as the last I heard of Fool he was back in prison.

Direction

Wouldn’t you love for God to tell you what you should do next? He’s often done this for us through dreams. He’s shown us the right home church to join, the best country to serve Him in, the right organization to join, when it’s time to move to a new home or job, etc. When we awake and discuss such dreams with Him and with each other, His leading produces a faith in us to take a new risk, confident that He’ll meet all our needs as we follow Him.

Wishes Fulfilled

We all have a “wish list” or a “bucket list”—if we ever had the time and money, how fun it would be to pursue these things! But what if God were willing to overcome our time and money limitations to let us fulfill these desires through dreams? Didn’t He say, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart?” (Ps.37:4) While I’m busy serving Him in the daytime, He has given me amazing dreams in the night even better than my bucket list. In my dreams, I’ve met and even played sports with many of my athletic heroes, such as soccer legends Alessandro Del Piero, Kaka, and Zinedine Zidane, and NFL star Dak Prescott. I’ve traveled all over the world, learned new skills, and had amazing adventures. In one dream an angel gave me 2 free airline tickets to Switzerland—I’m still hoping that dream will come to pass! Such dreams remind me that I’m not missing out on what the rich have. I get to work hard during the day to make the world a better place, and “make a wish” while my body is resting at night.

I hope these short stories have stirred up excitement in you to go to sleep tonight! Even if you don’t see an angel, God may want to bless your dreams in many other ways if you’ll just pay attention. 😊

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Published by Jim Baton

Jim Baton (pen name) has spent over 25 years living in the Muslim world, where he’s been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray. Jim's writing, speaking and teaching is helping Christians and Muslims build bridges of understanding, love and prayer both in Muslim nations and at home in America. His novels contain a depth of understanding regarding the roots of the Christian and Muslim conflict, how to bring healing to Abraham’s broken family, how to combat terrorism with non-violence and love, and how to become a true peacemaker.

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