Demonic nightmares can be stopped
God promises all believers sweet sleep. Vivid, frightening nightmares however, point to emotional strongholds that haven’t been submitted to God and demonic interference into God’s sweet rest for us. Thankfully, demonic nightmares can be stopped in the name of Jesus Christ. We simply need to arm ourselves with the right understanding.
Proverbs 3:24 ESV If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Our brains continue to work while we sleep to process information we receive during the day. It sorts, edits and transfers new information from our conscious hours to our subconscious, long-term memory. Dreaming is one way our brains subconsciously process information and more critically, our emotions, while we sleep. Our dreams can set the tone for the following day based on the good or bad emotions we experienced during sleep. Scientists have found that childhood and recent experiences can morph into various scenarios in our dreams, and painful emotions we suppress can surface as nightmares.
Nightmares affect our waking hours
1. Biblical evidence
There are over 20 dreams recorded in the Bible, where God brought revelation to His people. Many of these dreams were instructions while some were prophecies and promises. All of them were edifying and communicated clearly.
However, when our hearts are not pure before our Almighty Father in heaven, demons can sneak in and influence our thoughts and dreams. Just as God’s angels can appear in our dreams (see Matthew 1:20 and Matthew 2:13), fallen angels or demons can also disrupt our sleep. They enter through any part of our subconscious minds that is not surrendered to Jesus Christ. Some entry points include unconfessed sin, suppressed emotions, traumatic experiences, self hatred, curses and affiliations with people or places with demonic strongholds.
The Bible records one such experience by Eliphaz, Job’s friend, who judged his friend in his heart. Eliphaz was terrified and troubled as a result.
Job 4:13-16 ESV “It came to me in a disturbing vision at night, when people are in a deep sleep. Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled. A spirit swept past my face, and my hair stood on end. The spirit stopped, but I couldn’t see its shape. There was a form before my eyes.
Demonic dreams and visions are dark and disturbing. They bring fear, dread and confusion. In contrast, the Holy Spirit only brings peace and joy. God is clear and concise when He communicates with us in our dreams.
2. Scientific evidence
According to Psychology Today, “nightmares are lengthy, elaborate dreams with imagery that evokes fear, anxiety, or sadness. The dreamer may wake up to avoid the perceived danger. Nightmares can be remembered upon awakening and may lead to difficulties returning to sleep or even cause daytime distress. Isolated nightmares are normal, but when dreams that bring extreme terror or anxiety recur often they can become a debilitating sleep disorder.”
The emotions experienced during nightmares tend to focus on sadness, confusion, guilt or disgust, rather than fear. Researchers have found that sleepers who suffer nightmares on a recurring, regular basis can suffer ill health effects, such as:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep avoidance, which can lead to sleep problems
- Disturbed sleep episodes
3. Practical evidence
Five people who have been set free from demonic nightmares were interviewed for this blog post. All of them had been “haunted” by such nightmares for decades and some common themes and patterns can be identified.
Demonic nightmares tend to occur between 2am and 4am, mostly at 3am. Each person’s demonic nightmares felt very real and were visually vivid. There was a sense of being trapped and out of control in “another world”, not being able to escape even if they consciously tried to.
Blood was often a repeated feature in such dreams, as in bloodied faces, bodies or places. They might dream of being brutally attacked by the very people who loved them and were trying to help e.g. close family members or friends. This might hinder them from seeking help. Some saw dragons, snakes and scorpions.
Each one was able to distinguish between bad dreams (which would be forgotten once they woke up) and demonic nightmares (which would stick vividly in their memory and loop in their minds for days or weeks). They would always wake up with a sense of dread, fear and confusion. Sleep became something to fear, rather than to look forward to.
Once they repented of their sins, each person’s demonic nightmares immediately stopped. Even though they may still experience bad dreams or see demons in their sleep today, they won’t remember the details nor have any fear.
One person said, “For years, I used to be so fearful and tried to fight off those demons in my dreams. Now I understand the power of God’s protection even in my sleep, I won’t give in to fear even when I see demons in my dreams. I have had very sound sleep ever since. God is good!“
Another said, “I used to wake up almost every night at 3am in fear because of the demonic nightmares. Those dreams stopped after I said the sinner’s prayer. Now I experience joyful dreams. If there are bad dreams, I forget them quickly. I even dream of praying for people on the bus or train and praising God in tongues, even though I don’t speak in tongues when I am conscious.”
A third said, “I repeatedly dreamt that I was being sexually abused by my closest family members, my mom, dad and brother. Thankfully, the dreams stopped recurring after I started praying to Jesus for help.“
Overcoming demonic nightmares
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have complete spiritual authority to demolish the works of the enemy against us when we pray in the name of our Saviour. So it is the same with demonic nightmares. But first, we must repent for clinging on to any offensive acts or objects that give Satan a foothold to torment us.
1 John 3:8 ESV … The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Luke 6:18 ESV … And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.
1. Repent of participation in the occult
Any form of occult practice opens the door to demonic oppression. Even one single act done “just for fun” or “out of curiosity” years ago must be brought before the Lord in confession.
This includes being dedicated at a temple as a child, praying to deities for blessing and good luck, visiting pagan temples, taking part in folk religions, ancestor worship or funeral rites, consulting fortune tellers or psychics, “paying respect” with joss sticks, being involved (actively or passively) in fengshui rituals etc.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 NLT … do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord…
2. Repent of new age practices such as meditation and hypnotism
Meditation and hypnotism opens our subconscious minds to any spiritual influence, usually demonic. We become like cities without walls that are easily broken into.
Proverbs 25:28 NASB Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.
Christians who use these techniques are unaware that this is how mediums go into trances and invite evil spirits into their bodies. The dictionary defines a trance as “a half-conscious state characterized by an absence of response to external stimuli, typically as induced by hypnosis or entered by a medium.”
We must repent to God for having participated in meditation and hypnotism, and command any spirits that entered our bodies through those practices to leave us in Jesus’ name.
3. Check for spiritually unclean objects or images
It is also important to check our sleeping quarters for things that would offend God and to destroy them. Examples include good luck charms, sexualised images, objects used for fetishes, dreamcatchers, skulls, artwork representing death or horror, images of vampires, dragons and other mythical beasts, altars etc. If you have a body tattoo that is occultic, do consider having it removed.
Leviticus 19:28 ESV You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any other entry points
After reviewing the most obvious entry points, we can ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything else that we must repent of, revoke or remove.
Have we ever wished to see our dead family members or friends in our dreams? Have we wished to die or speak with spirits? Have we watched hypnotism, mediums, seances or horror movies etc? Could we have been cursed by people who practiced witchcraft? We may forget things that we have done in our past, but the Holy Spirit will reveal areas of demonic oppressions when we ask Him.
John 16:8 ESV And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
If the Holy Spirit reminds us and convicts our hearts of any sin, we must repent and ask God for forgiveness for those things too.
5. Go for counselling for unresolved issues
Those who have been victims of trauma or have unresolved emotional conflicts should consider seeing a Christian counsellor to work through their root issues. It is critical to choose a godly counsellor who relies on God’s Word and who will not use new age meditation, hypnotism or mind control techniques.
Proverbs 28:26 ESV Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
6. Check the history of where you sleep
The Bible points out that our actions and sins can defile physical places, particularly if there has been altars, animal sacrifices, rape and sexual perversion, sadistic murders, witchcraft rituals or idol worship there. These opens the door to dark spirits to linger.
Ezekiel 36:17 ESV “Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds…
Numbers 35:33 ESV You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.
If you suspect the place you have been sleeping in has been spiritually defiled, you can confess the sins to God, ask for His forgiveness and cleansing, and command any spirits to leave in Jesus’ name.
7. Meditate on God’s Word, follow Him wholeheartedly
God promises that our sleep will be sweet when we fill our hearts with God’s Word and choose to obey Him fully. God instructs us to meditate on His Word day and night, so that we will prosper and be successful. He created sleep so that our brains can process and store His Word in our long term memory while our bodies rest. God’s Word will then bear fruit in our lives like one who “sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how“.
Proverbs 3:1-2,24 ESV My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you… If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Joshua 1:8 ESV This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Mark 4:26-27 ESV And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.
We should make it a habit to mediate on God’s Word and fill our minds with His promises and instructions.
8. Invite the Holy Spirit to be Lord of our sleep
Each night, we can offer our subconscious minds to the Holy Spirit and ask God to protect our sleep and dreams as we pray.
Psalm 91:1,4-5 ESV He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night…
9. Ask God to use spiritual gift of dreaming for His glory
Every thing that the enemy has used to destroy our lives, God can redeem for His glory. Invite the Holy Spirit to use our dreams to bring His Light to bless His people abundantly.
John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
For instance, if you think you might have received a prophetic dream, invite God to help you interpret the dream and use it for His glory. First record the dream in a book and wait for the Holy Spirit to prompt you when the time has come to share them with the right people. Before you speak about or interpret any prophetic dream to anyone, remember to test if it builds up, encourages or consoles others. If it does not, withhold the message until God prompts you very clearly at least twice to speak it out and do so with great humility. Beware spiritual pride. Each gift must be used to glorify God, not ourselves or other people.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
1 Corinthians 14:3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
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