Understanding Your Dreams — Maximizing Recall and Retention

Dream asleep

“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” (Job 33:14-15, NIV, emphasis mine).

Today’s verse reveals a vital truth: oftentimes when God is speaking through our dreams, we don’t perceive it. Whether it be because of busyness, tiredness, or holding a low value for dreams, it’s easy to miss out on what the Father wanted to communicate to us.

Even if you are not an avid dreamer, chances are that at least once in a while, Holy Spirit will create a dream message just for you. Prophetic dreams and dream interpretation fall into the category of prophetic spiritual gifts. Here is what the Word has to say about those: “But eagerly desire the best gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31, NKJV). I believe that throughout our lives, the Father desires for us to grow in spiritual gifts.

Today’s post includes some everyday ways to practice “eagerly desiring” this growth… as both a receiver and interpreter of Holy Spirit’s night parables. (You can find the beginning of this list here).

 33) Seek Him before sleeping. Invite Him to pour His presence into you and speak to you as you sleep. Truly, the moment when you lie your head down to sleep marks the beginning of your next day. This is what God established in creation when He said, “There was evening and there was morning,” in describing each new day (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). In this order than He set up, rest and refreshing comes first. Your sleep is His gift to replenish you and prepare you for what’s ahead. What a beautiful window nighttime becomes for Him to pour His renewal into you!

Let’s make it our goal for the very last thoughts in our mind, before drifting off to sleep, to be centered on the Lord. I love to speak this verse over my children at bedtime: “I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure” (Ps. 4:8, NET).

As we turn our hearts to Him on our beds, this helps tune us into the flow of His nocturnal activities. He never sleeps, and our spirits don’t either. Starting out our new day in His presence opens the door for Him to minister to our spirits as our bodies slumber. One of the ways He does this is through communicating to us in our dreams.

34) Work out your memory muscles. The more you use your memory for recalling dreams, the better you will get at remembering them. If you desire to grow in this area, build space into your life for it to happen. This will mean not rushing right into your day when you wake up.

As your mind makes the transition into wakefulness each morning, keep your eyes closed. Again, snuggle into Jesus’ presence. Focus into any dreams that are still there on the edge of your consciousness. Intentionally examine them in your mind. What can you remember? Don’t move until you have remembered everything that you can. Don’t rush this. When you have finished replaying all of it, go ahead and make a record of the dream while it’s fresh.

You may even want to keep your journal ready on your bedside stand. Some individuals wake up during the night remembering a dream. If they don’t make a note of it at that point, it won’t be there in their conscious memory when they wake up in the morning. If that’s you, maybe Holy Spirit is testing your heart. It could be that He is waiting to see if you are hungry enough for His communication to record your dream before you fall back asleep.

Here’s another pointer for memory boosting. You can even intentionally develop your power of recall during your waking hours. How? Deliberately revisit scenes from long ago that are tucked away in your memory banks. What did your childhood house look like? In your memory, walk into each room and look around. What objects, colors, and textures do you remember? What furniture, floor plans, and pictures? How about your elementary school? What were your teachers like? Your classrooms? Your classmates? As you spend time intentionally bringing these details to mind, you are exercising your brain in a way that will enhance your recall and retention*.

35) Get enough sleep to not need an alarm. The blaring sounds that our phones emit to wake us up in the morning jolt us awake. This short-circuits the natural waking process that allows more generously for remembering our dreams. I could write a whole series of posts, no doubt, on the vital importance of getting enough sleep. I’ll leave that to others for now. Suffice it to say, yet another benefit of a full night’s rest is the enhancement of dream recall.

As you gently ease out of a sleeping state into wakefulness, often what you were dreaming may still be there at the edges of your consciousness. Practice mulling over those wisps of pictures, pulling them back into the center of your mind. Do so before you are even all the way awake. Holy Spirit sometimes will use that in-between stage, when you’re not fully asleep and not yet fully awake either, to speak to you. That can often be even the most strategic time for Him to download His beautiful messages to you.

We are drawing near to the end of this study on dream interpretation. But stay tuned, before we do, for a post on warfare dreams, and then one more surprise topic!

*(Side note: if remembering is painful, Jesus the Healer longs to heal that pain. There is hope for your soul in His healing hands!)


Do you routinely connect with God as you are going to sleep? When you are waking?




4 thoughts on “Understanding Your Dreams — Maximizing Recall and Retention

  1. Talk about the impeccable timing of God. I just had one of those dreams this morning.

    “Holy Spirit will create a dream message JUST FOR YOU. Prophetic dreams and dream interpretation fall into the category of prophetic spiritual gifts. Here is what the Word has to say about those: “But eagerly desire the best gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31, NKJV). I believe that throughout our lives, the Father desires for us to grow in spiritual gifts.”

    Speechless!! Have Your way in our lives Lord!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for your post, Jennifer. This is certainly true in my own life. However, I have learnt that having a relationship with Jesus is a lifetime of learning and growing. Much still to learn but He does indeed speak in dreams but His Wisdom must be applied to the Truth aligned with the Word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, my dear sister! Dream messages are another area where only being “hearers” won’t get us anywhere — we must be “doers” of the Word! Thank you so much for sharing that important point. Grace and peace to you!


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