What should you do if you have a bad dream, nightmare, or demonic attack in your sleep—or a series of them? How can you help a member of your family who has one?
This seems to be an issue faced by many Christians who are gifted in discernment or prophecy, and who have a heightened awareness of spiritual atmospheres.
And not surprisingly—for growing in faith and spiritual authority is a significant part of our journey.
If we are gifted in prophetic dreams or discernment, there may be contention for the gift of God on our lives.
For many years, I experienced demonic attacks in dreams, and am grateful for the freedom God has given to me.
Following are some thoughts on how you can respond when you have had a bad dream, demonic encounter, or nightmare in your sleep:
1. Know what the Bible says About Sleep
Our standpoint is that we don’t put up with anything less than God’s best for our loved ones and ourselves. With insight, the leading of the Holy Spirit and applying our spiritual authority, a troubled dream can be redeemed and turned to good.
The starting place is to establish a firm foundation of knowing what the Bible says about God’s purpose for our sleep and night hours.
2. Ascertain the Source of the Dream (and Deal with it Accordingly)
There are 4 basic types or sources of troubled or negative dreams. These are:
A. Ordinary processing dreams
Troubled dreams may arise from encountering something in your day. Be aware that what you view (such as the Internet and TV) can affect your sleep. By guarding our viewing, we are protecting our inheritance and the gifts God wants to give us during our sleep.
‘I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. I will not look with approval on anything that is vile.’ (Ps 101:2b-3)
B. Soul dreams
Dreams can also reveal our emotional response to something in our lives.
Emotions experienced in a dream may relate to something from the past or present or concerns about our future. For example, underlying anxiety, fear or jealousy concerning a person or situation can emerge in a dream.
The benefit of these types of dreams is that we can become aware of a subconscious response we are having. Responding to these dreams well means allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to us in that area.
C. Prophetic Warning Dreams
Warning dreams in Scripture were a means of God protecting His people and through those warnings, the Holy Spirit provided them with clear instructions.
A dream from the Holy Spirit that is a prophetic warning should not result in ongoing fear. It should result in a clear course of action—which may be to pray or intercede. Once that action is taken, any sense of burden that has come with the dream should lift.
Look for the fruit. Do not label something to be from the Holy Spirit if the fruit is confusion, fear, or something else that is negative. I have known people who have had fearful dreams about things happening to friends and loved ones thinking it is a prophetic warning dream—but it was actually arising out of their own subconscious fears or deep feelings. 
D. Spiritual Warfare Dreams
Spiritual warfare dreams can range from a generally dark dream to direct demonic confrontation or nightmares.
Not knowing the reason for spiritual warfare or demonic presence in a dream is not necessary to exercise your spiritual authority over it in Jesus’ Name. Simply, you do not need to put up with it.
However, the Holy Spirit may lead you to ask, ‘what is the reason for this?’
- Is it personal spiritual warfare coming against God’s purposes for you, your ministry, or your family?
- Is it situational—due to a demonic presence occupying a room or region?
- Are there any permissions that need to be canceled—if it has been allowed to operate or occupy?
If the Holy Spirit shows you that spiritual warfare is occurring because you have allowed the enemy access in your life, (Eph 4:27) regaining authority requires repentance and submitting to God.
‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)
Taking time to submit to God may include recognizing and repenting of any ways that you have opened the door to demonic attack—or simply poor choices made about what you have viewed or read.
Use your authority in prayer. In spiritual warfare terms, ‘binding’ means stopping, disallowing, and commanding the enemy to cease its activity, in Jesus’ Name. ‘Loosing’ has to do with what you are permitting and releasing in Jesus’ Name. (Matt 16:19, Matt 12:29)
3. Always Pray about the Dream
Our first response to a bad dream, regardless of its source, should be to pray—and how you pray will depend upon the source of the dream.
This process should not be complicated, long, or drawn out. We can have simple and bold faith. Our Father is good, His purpose is good, and our authority in Jesus’ Name is sure. We can be confident that prayer and referring to what the Bible says should lead us back to a place of peace and rest.
Bad Dreams and Children
Our response to children’s dreams needs to be handled sensitively. This means taking a caring, reassuring, positive, and faith-filled approach.
Each individual circumstance requires wisdom. Remember that you can pray for a child (e.g. in the next room) without necessarily praying with the child. There are also times to encourage them to pray and exercise their own faith and spiritual authority.
Very simply, they need to know that God is their loving Heavenly Father, that His purpose for their sleep and dreams is good, and that they have authority in the Name of Jesus over anything demonic. As parents, we need to be sensitive to the age and stage of the child and deal with it accordingly.
A Pattern of Negative Dreams or Ongoing Spiritual Warfare
What if there is a pattern of bad dreams or spiritual warfare, or you are using the above strategies but still not experiencing a breakthrough?
Depending on the issue, some Christian counseling or prayer ministry may be helpful. 
As always, we recommend sharing these kinds of issues with your spiritual oversight. Leadership in the church is given to us for protection, and to help with prayer, wisdom, comfort, and discernment.
An Online Course to Help You Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack
The Bible has great news. If you have discerned signs of spiritual warfare, or have been battling in your dreams, you do not have to be weighed down by spiritual oppression or put up with pressure and attack!
Find out about my course, ‘Spiritual Warfare: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’ here.
 For more about prophetic warnings, see here: Prophetic Warnings: What Should We Do With Them?
 For information and guidelines relating to safe prayer ministry, see my article here: Prayer Ministry Ideas and Guidelines
My Recommended Posts:
- 4 Types of Dreams and their Meanings
- 9 Bible Promises About Your Sleep, Dreams and Night Hours
- Does Seeing Demons Mean I have a Spiritual Gift of Discernment
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries—in the David McCracken Ministries family.
16 thoughts on “3 Tips About Bad Dreams, Prophetic Warnings and Nightmares”
I wanted to share my breakthrough!
Sleep & night time was always a really dark place – I would wake every morning with a headache, my jaw would hurt through clenching & I always experienced bad dreams!
I knew this wasn’t Gods plan but wasn’t sure how to spiritually address it!
After reading Helens blog on dreams & sleep I have been declaring Gods favour & speaking out the verses concerning what biblically God says about sleep!
I now experience such peace at night & have even seen a change in my sons sleep & rest! This has released incredible blessing over my home!
Oooh that is totally awesome, Laura! I have just been thinking today I need to print off the Bible promises in my previous post and keep them handy for meditation at night. May sweet sleep continue to be your portion!
Great insights again!!! Had to pray hard for serious weapons and was given both your site and Cindy Trimm’s book “The Rules of Engagement”! Gotta LOVE the Lord!! Thank you for sharing!
Great to hear from you Stacie. God is so good…I say it often but experience it fresh continually!
A very timely post Helen. I’m presently in a serious spiritual warfare because of the kind of dreams I’ve been having of late.
I just started a project that is supposed to take me to the next level in ministry, then hell also broke loose.
Everything you said is so true. I think I’m gifted in dream interpretation. God speaks to me a lot through and over the years I’ve learned to discern the difference, but I’m still learning.
Your post was really useful for me. thanks
Hi Gretiana, I’m glad you found this article helpful. God is good 🙂
Hello Hellen, I have been following you for sometime now and you have realy inspired me through your teachings on this blog. But I want you to help me tackle some issues in ma ministry, which i would love we discuss that privately. Please send me ya email address so i can contact you.
My is email@example.com
hope to hear from you soon, THANKS.
Hi Theophilus, are you on the blog email list? If you reply to the email I should receive it. Sometimes it takes a few days for me to reply if I’m busy, though.
a veces tener sueños profeticos,se piensa que estos se van a realizar a la vuelta de la esquina,pero no es asi…hay que orar sobre el tema,y esperar,y esperar…por el otro lado,es verdad que la tv o fb,de alguna manera influyen y en ocasiones determinan que tengamos sueños carnales,me refiero a cosas materiales,y si uno no la las disciernen bien,el final es lamentable…por ejemplo,yo ha sopñado siempre de pastorear iglesias grandes y de gran influencia espiritual en donde aparece esta congregacion,incluso veo la forma y manera de como deben estar la plataforma y el lugar de los musicos, como el espacio que deben ocupar las sillas,estos sueños se han repetido en muchas ocasiones,y hasta el momento sigo esperando que tenga su cumplimiento…sigo orando por usted,profeta Helen.
Hello Jose, thank you for your prayers.
Dreams with God sometimes take a long journey to fulfilment. I have had some dreams fulfilled after more than 10 years, some longer than that are not yet fulfilled. Welcome the journey with Father God over the long term. He is faithful.
Habakkuk 2:3 is encouraging 🙂
I normaly dream about my Brothers family especially his wife or children.In most instances they are under attack through demons or there is fight within the family. When I wake up I will call them ans share the dream and the response in most cases is what I saw during the dream
I encourage you to do two further things (you may already be doing this)
1. To pray for them
2. To ask Father God for insight into what He is doing, His future plans and blessings for the family. In other words, to encourage them not just to focus on what the enemy is doing, but to see God’s redeeming purpose, what is on the Father’s heart for them as a family and for individuals. And pray and share that – this will bless them powerfully.
This is what turns your ability to see and dream into a powerful weapon and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
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