Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dreams and Visions

Dreams and Visions

Dreams and visions are an important part of prayer; two important ways Heavenly Father has of speaking to his children.

Both are very real.

If not, Lehi’s dream of the tree of life would mean nothing more than a journey to a tree instead of our journey to Christ. Joseph’s Smith's first and subsequent visions would be nothing more than a fairy tale.
Photo by: @ly$ in wonderland, courtesy of Flickr

It may be easy for us to look upon these dreams and visions as just that—dreams and visions of prophets—righteous men who walked the earth in the days of Christ and in modern times. Why would the Father want to speak to us in such a way? Are we prophets?

I can’t help but think of Moses’ feelings on this very subject. He said, “Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!”(Number 11:29).

And this one: “Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream” (Numbers 12:6).

And finally, this one in Acts 2:17: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (See also: Joel 2:28).

I have been taught many things about myself, my husband and my children through not only remembering my dreams when I awaken, but recording them, and then asking my Father in Heaven what he would have me know and do.

Dreams are not always what they appear to be on first awakening. Like the truths spoken before the Savior’s crucifixion and resurrection, there were some who did not believe His words. They did not understand them because the Lord spoke in parables.

Aren’t dreams often like parables that simply need searching out? Have you had a dream recently that made no sense, but something about it made you think of it again and again? Some dreams need an interpretation. They need the word of the Lord to clarify what we have received so that we might benefit. This means we must go to the Father in prayer. If the dream is from Him we will know it.

Dreams and visions, just like the peace that comes from our Heavenly Father, cannot be forced or coerced. They come in his time, not ours. But I know this. If we truly seek to know Him, to hear His voice, to feel of His love, He will manifest himself to us through dreams and visions—yes, just like Nephi of old.

Once again I have come to see how much our Father in Heaven is a part of our lives. This morning as I spoke with Him about assisting me in the lesson I was to give this Sunday in church, I felt a calmness that he would.

The lesson began with the Wiseman’s travel to see the Christ child. Through a vision, Joseph had the faith to take his wife and son to Egypt so that they would be saved from the cruel hands of King Herod. There they lived until another visit of the angel directed them to return home—Herod was dead.

It was during my study of this lesson that I realized the reason I’d been asked to substitute for my friend in her Primary class—even so far as the reason I’d been handed this particular lesson.

Our Father cares about our journey. He cares that we come to Him in prayer to receive direction. He cares what we are doing in our individual lives so much that He is willing to send a lesson our way to help us. If we are struggling with family members He may send a friend to comfort us. If we are studying a particularly difficult gospel topic, He enlightens our minds so that we will understand. If we are feeling unloved, he wraps His arms around us at home, at church; even at the grocery store.