The prophet Joel exhorts: “It shall come to pass I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 3:1)

In a person’s typical day, the brain via its neural network of 80 billion neurons, produces five types of electrical activity known as brain waves. These are alpha, beta, theta, delta, and gamma waves. When we are awake, beta and gamma activities are higher, and keep us alert and stimulated. When we transition to sleep, beta waves diminish, and there is an increase in alpha waves. Alpha waves are also found when we meditate, daydream, or listen to the sounds of waves and rain. Last, we enter into the part of sleep which produces dreaming, and the pre-frontal cortex becomes less active, while theta waves increase.  (Zia, 2022)

Dreaming is a part of sleep known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM), where there is a spike in brain activity every 90 minutes or thereabouts as we sleep, but the rest of the body remains “paralysed” in a state of rest (Maquet, et. Al, 1996). While this bodily function remains a mystery – Scientists are not quite sure why it happens, it has been proposed that the REM stage allows the brain to make and retain long-term memories, process the information and the emotions that have been experienced.

While a natural part of our lives, dreams can also be a means through which the LORD God converses with us and reveals His plan for us in our lives. This does not mean however that we should be chasing visions and seeking out esoteric encounters so as to deliberately put ourselves into a stupor or dream-like, drugged state. Prayer and discernment need to accompany the dreams that appear to be Divine revelations – to ascertain whether what has been dreamt is in alignment to Scripture and Church Teaching, and whether the pursuit of such a dream will lead me to become a better person, build my ministry and community, and to build up and glorify the Kingdom of God. If dreams are taking us away from these, then these dreams are phantoms and shadows of the night, and likely not from God (Farrow, 2021).

A God-dream is a powerful revelation that allows us His creatures and instruments to do something amazing for the Kingdom of God. There are usually two responses to such a dream – the Joseph response, or the Jonah response – we can move in obedience to the Will of God as Joseph did when the angel appeared to him to inform him about Jesus and his next steps pertaining to the infant child. Or we can choose to run away from this dream as Jonah did. Nonetheless, in the running away from a God-dream, we may  find ourselves in stormy waters and eventually swallowed into the belly of a whale. That is, in avoiding the God-Dream, we inevitably take ourselves further and further away from the peace and stability of the path that God has envisioned for us, to end up in places we would rather not be. This stability, does not mean that the path will be smooth and obstacle free, but it is a God-led path, where we may have peace in the assurance that God is fighting our battles on our behalf, and that we can lean into Him and trust in Him.

In the Old Testament, Joseph the patriarch was gifted a dream by the Lord. He would eventually end up where this dream prophesied, but the shape and direction of his life did not quite pan out as he would have expected it to. The circumstances of his life seemed to be taking him further and further away from his dream. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was thrown into prison… Yet each moment was preparing him for the moment where he would eventually use what he already had within him to propel him into the greatness that the Lord God had envisioned for him and that which would bring his dream into fruition. The ways of the Lord are indeed mysterious, and not of our ways.

Today, God continues to speak to us His people through dreams. Each of us has been gifted a quiet dream. A dream that God speaks to us only in silence… And when we desire to dream this dream that God has planted in our hearts, we will not only come to understand the fullness of our purpose, but we will be completely mindblown by the magnitude of that quiet dream.

Pope Francis writes:

“Blessed Charles directed his ideal of total surrender to God towards an identification with the poor, abandoned in the depths of the African desert. In that setting, he expressed his desire to feel himself a brother to every human being, and asked a friend to “pray to God that I truly be the brother of all”. He wanted to be, in the end, “the universal brother”. Yet only by identifying with the least did he come at last to be the brother of all. May God inspire that dream in each one of us. Amen.

A Prayer to the Creator

Lord, Father of our human family,
you created all human beings equal in dignity:
pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit
and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter,
dialogue, justice and peace.
Move us to create healthier societies
and a more dignified world,
a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

May our hearts be open
to all the peoples and nations of the earth.
May we recognise the goodness and beauty
that you have sown in each of us,
and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,
and shared dreams. Amen.”

(Pope Francis, 2020)

What is the God-dream that God our loving Father is inviting you to dream today?


By the Grace of God,

Brian Bartholomew Tan


Farrow, M. (2021). Dreams and the Spiritual Life: How important are dreams in your relationship with God? National Catholic Register. Retrieved October 28, 2023 from

Maquet, P., Péters, J., Aerts, J., Delfiore, G., Degueldre, C., Luxen, A., & Franck, G. (1996). Functional neuroanatomy of human rapid-eye-movement sleep and dreaming. Nature383(6596), 163–166.

Pope Francis. (2020). Fratelli tutti. [Encyclical Letter]. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved from

Zia, S. (2022). Why do we dream? Ask the Brain. McGovern Institute. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 28, 2023 from