Some people dismiss the idea that dreams can have significance. Others believe that there is spiritual meaning in every dream and that all should be interpreted and taken seriously.

I believe that a balanced Biblical viewpoint lies somewhere in between these two extremes.

4 Types of Dreams and Their Meanings

Identifying which type of dream we have had can help us determine whether to consider a potential meaning in the dream, and what—if anything—to do with it.

Here are four dream categories that I have personally found helpful:


1. Ordinary, Processing Dreams

4 Types of DreamsDreaming is a natural function of the brain, occurring mainly during the REM stage of sleep. [1]

I believe that it is not necessary to seek meaning in the majority of our dreams.

Last night I watched a murder mystery on DVD before I went to bed—something I usually avoid. Not surprisingly, my dreams contained an element of danger.

I do not remember most of my “processing” dreams—and those that I do recall quickly fade. However, other people I know are vivid dreamers and can recall them clearly. Sometimes people refer to unusual but meaningless dreams as “pizza dreams.”

The GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) principle applies to dreams. Whatever we feed our senses and minds with will invariably find expression in our sleep.

“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless…” (Eccl 5:7)

If you are unsure about a dream you have had, pray about it. Perhaps it may fit in one of the other dream types.


2. Prophetic Dreams

“For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction.” Job 33:14-16 (NKJV)

From the book of Genesis all the way through the Bible, dreams are one way that God speaks to His people.

However, even those who were gifted in the area of dreams and dream interpretation (Joseph and Daniel, for example) only had a few dreams that were significant enough to be recorded in the Scriptures.

Joel and Peter mentioned dreams as one manifestation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, along with prophecy and visions. (Acts 2:17)

There are many ways that God used dreams in the Bible—for example:

  • Warnings (Abimilek, Gen 20:1-8))
  • Revealing destiny and the call of God (Joseph, Gen 37:5-10)
  • Impartation of a spiritual gift or ability (Solomon, 1 Kings 3:5)
  • A strategy for provision (Jacob, Gen 31:10)
  • A sign of His Presence (Jacob’s ladder, Gen 28:12))
  • Guidance (Paul, Acts 16:9)

My husband Malcolm (aka ‘The Hunk’) and I occasionally have dreams that we believe contain prophetic insights from God. I find these dreams have a greater than usual clarity and I awake with a sense of God’s Presence.

The Bible contains many promises that God will bless our sleep and dream life.

So, let’s increase our sense of expectation that God will speak to us through our dreams. [2]


3. Soul Dreams

Soul dreams reveal emotions, attitudes, or beliefs that we may be trying to deny or repress.

They are a means that God can use for good—to help us bring them into the open and deal with them.

Signs you may be having a soul dream include:

  • Actual memories resurfacing in your dreams
  • Vivid emotions that you can link to an event, past present, or future
  • Repeating, or recurring dreams

Soul dreams may indicate a response, such as fear or anger, to an event that is happening at present in our lives, or that we are anticipating in the future. If something from your past is surfacing in a dream, you can be assured that it is ready to be dealt with and that your loving Father is waiting to bring healing to you.

We should never dismiss soul dreams as being unimportant. They give us insight into our inner world and can be powerful when seen in our Father’s redemptive light. They also reveal what He designs to heal and turn around. And furthermore, they provide solutions—because they shine a light on underlying problems.

If you are having soul dreams that you believe are significant, pray about them and ask God how you should respond. If needed, find a leader/mentor or wise Christian counsel to pray with you and help you process whatever is coming to the surface.


4. Spiritual Warfare Dreams

On occasion, I have experienced spiritual warfare during my sleep.

When this takes place, God allows demonic intrusion into our sleep for His purposes:

  • To set us free and bring us closer to Him,
  • In order to pray effectively and
  • For the purpose of exposing hidden strategies of the enemy

a. Spiritual Warfare

‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Psalm 4:8)

Dreams can be an alert to pray during times of spiritual warfare. There have been times when I have woken my husband and we have prayed together because I have experienced a demonic confrontation in a dream. We know that our prayers have made a difference.

b. Demonic Oppression in Dreams

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,’ (Psalm 91:5)

Repeated nightmares can be a sign of having an ‘open doorway’ in our lives for demonic oppression. Those who have experienced trauma, or been involved in the occult (personally or generationally), for example, may be vulnerable in this area. But bad dreams and nightmares can be redeemed and overcome.

Many years ago I had regular nightmares. Through receiving prayer ministry I was able to identify the source of these and gain freedom through prayer. [3]

It is important to remember that God is greater than any other spiritual influence and that as Christians we have power in prayer, using the Name of Jesus, to overcome any spiritual attack.

c. Discernment Dreams

Some people who have the gift of discernment may experience conflict in their dreams, or be alerted to a demonic presence or strategy through a dream. [4] The purpose of this may be for a prophetic warning as well as for prayer and intercession.

‘You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4)

We should never be afraid as the result of a dream. If you have a dream that you are concerned about—no matter what type of dream it is—share it with someone you trust and pray about it.


Notes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream

[2] The following articles may be helpful:
What To Do When You Have A Prophetic Dream.
How Do I know A Personal Prophecy Or Dream Interpretation Is From God?

[3] Prayer Ministry is an extended session of prayer with 2 or more trained prayer ministers in a safe, supervised setting. It should be used in conjunction with pastoral care in the church and if necessary, professional counseling.

[4] If you are having discernment-type dreams this article may be helpful: 8 Signs You May Have The Spiritual Gift Of Discernment.


© Helen Calder,  Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family

63 thoughts on “4 Types Of Dreams And Their Meanings”

  1. Hi Asia,
    sounds like you have learned that Jesus is both your Saviour and Deliverer… He is more powerful than any demonic entity and you have authority as a child of God in His Name. He loves you beyond measure!
    I’m glad you have begun this wonderful journey of faith. Perhaps others who have also experienced the battles you describe will read this and learn that there is freedom in Jesus.
    God wants to redeem every part of our life so that it brings glory to Him – and that includes our dream life. I pray that you will continuer to be strengthened in this area.

  2. Hi Becca, it does sound as though there is some wonderful imagery in your dream. (for example, God spoke to Abraham to count the stars, it spoke of his destiny and inheritance, and 7 stars make an appearance in Revelation chapter one, representing the churches).
    If you do not have the means to interpret the dream right now, write it down, pray about it and continue to meditate on it, store it where you can review it later.
    Like some personal prophecies, prophetic dreams can speak of and make sense later on down the track in God’s timing. When we finally put all the pieces together, it gives us greater reason to praise Him because we realise He has known and planned our lives all along!

    1. Thanks Helen! It’s been quite a journey, not always fun though but I love every second if this training.

      I have also recieved healing for a bladder or kidney infection that could have been life threatening. I confessed healing and read healing scriptures and it worked. God healed me. This has been something I have been struggling with. It was never a “is God going to heal me” problem, but a “when”. Glad to say I’m healed and don’t have a problem with confessing anymore.! I’m so excited. Confessing, God’s word. It’s powerful.

  3. Thank you for you thoughts on my dream. I never really thought of the counting of the stars as an image of destiny and inheritance that is very encourging. It is also still very confusing to me but I will continue to pray about it. I dream about my childhood home quite a bit since becomeing a christian do you have any thoughts about this? I had a dream like the one posted above at the same place but I was mowing the grass when I noticed 3 golden crosses in the sky so i went into the house to get my children and pack there diper bag, I remembered the scripture if you are on the roof of your house not to go down to pack a bag so I stoped packing left my children and the bag and went to sit in my car,the next scene of the dream I was sitting in the back seat of my car (in the driveway) my husband was in the drivers seat there was an old girlfried of my brothers curled up in a ball on the front seat(she is not saved and lives a very broken lifestile) and his current girlfriend my mother and I were all in the back seat talking. My brother come up to the car and I went to open the door to let him in but a voise told me to lock him out. any suggestions on this it also is very confusing?

    1. Hi Becca, dreams are very personal and for this one, may be best to rest in it and keep a record, rather than concern about a particular interpretation. As far as me giving you a dream interpretation, it’s always a real honour to be asked for a prophetic word or interpretation – it means that you trust me and respect my ability to hear from God. However we have a policy never to give prophecies/interpretations via email or Internet because of our high value regarding accountability, i.e. we believe a prophecy should be given in an accountable environment (e.g. such as in church where there are leaders present). You can read about this here: http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/08/17/is-personal-prophecy-biblical/

      But may I encourage you to continue fostering hearing from God yourself in relations to your dreams – try journaling, for example the articles here:
      http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/category/journaling/

      (Also, keep an eye out for a post I will produce in the next few weeks on basics of dream interpretation).

  4. Thank you so much Helen for a large article on my favorite topic. I am a dreamer since years. Hundreds of dreams came true.
    You are a blessing.

  5. Hi, I have had a lot of dreams in the past , many of them have had a demonic element to them, which I rebuked in the name of Jesus. For more than 12 months now I have been an audio version of the Bible next to me while I sleep, since then I hardly have any dreams, any may an occasional demonic type one. The nights I have forgotten to listen to the Word I have had many dreams , some of which have been disturbing.

    Satan doesn’t sleep, we still need to protect ourselves with the word while we sleep. Our spirits are still been fed if the Word of is playing while we are sleeping

  6. I have had dreams for years and have always known some of these were from God. About two years ago the Holy Spirit had me begin to learn about spiritual warfare. I have read and studied for 2 years on the subject learning about different demonic spirits and how to pray. About 6 months ago I had a dream that I knew was from God. I wrote it down in my journal and then forgot about it. Then recently I had a situation happen in my life where the spritual warfare knowledge I had gained was needed and I was able to intercede for someone very close to me. I was seeking counseling from a pastor friend of mine during this time. I had my journal and was taking notes on our session when he mentioned to me he had the gift of dream interpretation. I was able to read the dream to him and he was able to intrepret it and it foretold of the situation that me and my boyfriend were seeing him about for counseling the situation with which the spiritual warefare knowledge had been needed. It was such a confirming and edifying experience for me and reaffirmed for me that God is with me at all times. When the time is right the meaning of your dream will be revealed to you so even if you don’t know what it means rest assured that God did not give you this dream to have you always wonder what it means. It will be revealed to you. God orders our steps when we are completely submitted to Him.

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