7 simple steps to making sense of your dreams

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City Church Christchurch

Interpreting dreams

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2 February 2020
By Emily H

Are you a dreamer? Well, actually we all dream – but often can’t remember them.

It’s more common for me to remember my dreams than not, so a while back I decided to learn about them. The book “Hearing God through your dreams”[a] is the best $30 I’ve spent in a long time!

I’ve learned how to hear what God wants to say to me through my dreams, and how that applies to my daily life.

Here are seven simple steps to help you do the same.

Steps to interpreting dreams.

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1. Recognise that God has spoken to people through dreams for hundreds & hundreds of years.

God instructed Jacob through a dream about how to prosper in his work (Genesis 31:10-13), warned Joseph that Jesus’ life was in danger (Matthew 2:13-14), and appeared to Solomon in a dramatic way (1 Kings 3:5-15).

Dreams are one of the ways God gives to us even as we sleep[b], instructing and counselling us[c]; maybe even saving our lives[d].

2. Expect God to tell you what your dreams mean.

The Bible tell us, “Then Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.’” (Genesis 40:8).

On page 28[a] we read, “God counsels us nightly in His desire to break through into our lives with His wisdom, love, creativity, and protection.”

Ask God to give you the interpretation.

A man standing in a field of wheat looking at a stunning sunset

3. Keep a record.

Record your dream as soon as you wake up, so as to capture as much of it as possible while it’s fresh in your mind. Write it down, type it into your phone, or do a voice recording. Use whatever method works for you.

4. Focus on the big picture to start with.

Pinpoint your main action in the dream and then identify the main emotion you experienced during the dream (or on waking). Now figure out how these match your waking life.

Sift through what you’d been doing and thinking about the previous day. Ask God to help you see what He wants to communicate to you through that dream[e].

5. Look for the symbolic meaning.

The pivotal point for understanding dreams is that they’re far more likely to be symbolic than literal. In addition, symbols are very personal. For instance, dreaming of a dog could represent loyalty or companionship – but if you’ve had bad experiences of dogs they could instead represent danger or insecurity.

The question to ask yourself is, “What does this symbol mean to me?”[f]

6. Make the most of the semi-awake state.

You know the feeling you get as you slowly drift off to sleep? It’s the drowsy, relaxed state and feels so good because you know sleep is very close. We’re in a similar state when we wake up slowly. These can be the easiest times for us to hear God.

“It is in this quiet state that the veil between the physical and spiritual becomes very thin and our minds connect most easily with our hearts”[g].

That’s why I now treasure periods of wakefulness during the night (short periods!), or waking up before my alarm. I now expect God to speak to me in those moments, so I listen.

I think about the dreams I’ve had, and often that’s when I get the interpretation of the dream.

7. Practise!

Whenever you rouse during the night, and first thing in the morning, take a few moments to reflect on what you’ve dreamed, and listen to God.


a. “Hearing God through your dreams: Understanding the language God speaks at night.” Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe, 2016.
b. Psalm 127:2 “…for he gives to his beloved even in his sleep” (NASB).
c. Psalm 16:7.
d. Job 33:14-18.
e. Pages 49, 55, 58, 64 - “Hearing God through your dreams”.
f. Page 50 - “Hearing God through your dreams”.
e. Page 230 - “Hearing God through your dreams”.