Transform Nightmares into Your Prophetic Destiny

by Doug Addison   

It seems that everywhere you go people are talking about dreams. Oftentimes, strange dreams are thought to be the result of having too much to eat before bed. I have helped interpret thousands of dreams and found that most people are surprised that many of their dreams actually have meaning.

Although not all dreams are from God, He often speaks to us through dreams. Accurate dream interpretation involves more than using a list of standard symbols. The first place to start is with prayer. Ask God to tell you what the dream means. Look at the dream's big picture; take note of the context, and whether the symbols are positive or negative. This process is similar to studying parables in the Bible.

What about Nightmares? The most common questions I get about dreams are, "What about nightmares?" "Are all bad dreams from Satan?" and "What can I do to get rid of night terrors?"

Not all nightmares are necessarily bad or from Satan. It may be that God is allowing a terrifying dream to point out issues that need our attention. King Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 4 is a good example. The King told Daniel that the dream made him afraid. Yet, the interpretation of the dream revealed that it was a dream from God warning the King to change his ways or he would lose his Kingdom for a period of time.

At first glance, nightmares appear overwhelmingly negative because of the feeling of fear. However, when you look closer at how the dream flows you may realize that the dream is calling you to do something new. Change is usually scary but not necessarily negative.

To help you understand this concept, I have listed a few types of unsettling dreams that may or may not be nightmares.

Dark dreams: God is often described in the Bible in terms of brilliant color and light. Conversely, dark dreams are marked by the absence of color, a dark overall tone, or evil presence. The important thing to remember is that anything that comes from Satan is a lie. The Bible tells us that it is God's will that is to be done in our lives, not Satan's. So when a nightmare reveals Satan's will, you can simply pray that the opposite happens.

Spiritual warfare dreams : Nightmares that involve battling and fighting are called spiritual warfare dreams. Because dreams reside in the spiritual realm, you can impact the spiritual world and wake up to an entirely different situation in the natural world because you won the battle in your dream. An illustration of this is the dream that Pilate's wife had in Matthew 27:19. She "suffered in a dream" and awoke with the revelation that Jesus was innocent. This compelled her to plead with her husband to let the Jewish leaders make the decision about Jesus' death.

Fear dreams: Fear dreams are tricky to detect. They can sometimes appear to be dreams from God because they often have full color but terrible things happen in them. An example is a mother who has a reoccurring dream that her son dies in a car crash after getting his driver's license. Of course she should ask God if it is literal, and pray to that effect. Typically though, these dreams symbolize fears that are hindering our ability to trust God. If fear is not dealt with it can grow into unbelief, and unbelief is so destructive that Jesus was not able to perform many miracles when it was present (Matthew 13:58).

  Muted color dreams: A dream that is not full color but is not really dark and evil is either a muted dream or dull color dream. It is good to pay attention to these dreams because at times they can reveal the enemy's plans against us. I once had a muted color dream in which someone next to me pointed to two people gossiping at a table next to us. The dream was telling me that there was a plan of the enemy to provoke people to talk about me behind my back. Shortly after I had the dream I found out that this was indeed happening, but the dream had alerted me, so I had already been praying about the situation.


Children's nightmares: Children often have reoccurring nightmares and may see demons in their rooms at night. This is a major plan of darkness to cause children to grow up fearing supernatural experiences. Satan wants our children to disregard and fear anything involving the spirit and the supernatural. This is because God is spirit (John 4:24) and is the creator and giver of good supernatural gifts and experiences. (James 1:17) If Satan succeeds in getting children to fear the supernatural realm, then there is a good chance that they will grow up never experiencing the level of destiny that God intends for them. I believe this is why many adults today are not able to hear God and experience all that He offers.

The best way to handle this with our children is to talk openly about it and pray with them. Have them pray and invite Jesus into their dreams. Let them know that they have the right to tell the bad things in dreams to go away by the power of Jesus' name. When children realize they can change the outcome of a bad dream, they will learn spiritual warfare and victory instead of fear and withdrawal.

A friend of mine explained this principle to his seven-year-old son who was having nightmares of being attacked by demons. A short time later his son had another nightmare but this time he spoke to the demons to go away in Jesus' name. They fled and the nightmares stopped.

Running or being chased dreams: Other nightmarish dreams may involve running from something or someone or being chased. Usually dreams like this are reoccurring because they point to issues in our lives that need our attention. Remember that to accurately interpret any dream it requires looking at both the context and full picture. For instance, being chased in a dream can mean that you have a destiny to do something that's going to follow you until you recognize it and begin pursuing it. On the other hand, it can also mean that there is something that wants to prevent you from reaching your destiny in God.  

Transforming your dream life: Have you ever had a dream in which something evil is present and you are trying to say, "In the name of Jesus", but the words just won't come out? This indicates that there is something that is trying to stop you from taking authority in your life. When you are dreaming you have the same amount of spiritual authority as when you are awake. Once you realize this it may take some time and practice to begin to change nightmares. You will know you are getting closer when, in the dream, you realize that you are dreaming. When this happens you then can begin to make choices that thwart the plans of Satan and invoke God's destiny for your life.