Nightmares are frightening, unpleasant or even terrifying dreams that can disrupt a persons sleep and in some cases cause them to stop dreaming altogether. These are dreams that originate from the enemy or from our own soul and are never from God. It is important to remember that there is a difference between a dream in which we have some feelings associated with fear (such dreams can originate from God at times) and dreams that occur with the purpose of inducing terror. While many thing that nightmares are only for children, it is quite possible to deal with such things at various times throughout our lives.
While the occasional nightmare may not be a significant issue for most people, even uncommon occurrences can be disruptive and do not have to be accepted. When nightmares become frequent or simply the common type of dream experienced, it is almost always a designed attack from the demonic spiritual realm. Such dreams should be dealt with in a spiritual manner and do not have to be endured. Often in these cases, the dreamer has a significant revelatory gift that the enemy is attempting to close down and destroy.
So, how do you deal with and overcome a pattern of nightmares? The first step is to recognize that you have spiritual authority over your night season and to exercise that authority. Begin to pray prior to laying down to sleep and not just by asking God to deliver you, but also by expressing your spiritual authority in your own life. A suggested model of prayer would be something like this:
Heavenly Father, I ask you to guard my night season and my dreams. In the Name of Jesus, I choose to take authority over my sleep and declare that no bad dreams/nightmares my come against me. I take authority over every demonic power that would seek to disrupt my sleep and command them to loose my mind and depart from me, in Jesus' Name. Holy Spirit give me peace that passes understanding to guard my heart and mind this night. I ask you to fill my night season with Your presence and to give me dreams that reveal your love to me tonight.
It is also important to insure that you begin your time of sleep in a place of peace yourself. If you have been arguing with someone, dealing with stress and anxiety, handling a difficult or complex task or experiencing other similar emotional states, then it is important to let go and turn these things over to the Lord before laying down to sleep. Ask God to remove these anxieties and spend some time meditating on His Word and on His character before attempting to sleep. Notice patterns that can lay the foundation for fear - such as playing violent video games or watching a scary movie - and eliminate these several hours before laying down if not completely.
If you have access to it, find the Bible on cd, mp3, digital audio, or some other format. Play the scriptures at an extremely low volume in a fashion that allows it to loop and repeat throughout the night. It would be recommended to play selections from Psalms, Proverbs and the Gospels for this purpose. It is important to note that the volume should be at a level that does not disrupt your sleep itself (this is especially true for young children). In fact, it should be so low that it requires intentional concentration to discern the actual words being spoken and comprehend what is being said. You will find yourself allowing your mind to wander and it will become necessary to focus your attention frequently in order to follow along. This is normal and expected. Eventually your mind will wander into sleep, but your spirit will continue to listen and receive from the spoken Word of God. At this point you will practically have exercised your authority, called your spirit to attention and focused it upon God's voice, thus laying a sure foundation upon which your dream can rest.
These techniques are almost 100% effective in eliminating night terrors and restoring peace. If the enemy's goal of shutting down your dream life has already been accomplished, then ask God to restore it and follow the suggestions above to prevent the enemy from renewing the attack.