Author Topic: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work  (Read 1410 times)

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Offline Zephyr7

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why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« on: August 25, 2019, 04:16:53 PM »
I would like to ask, how Orthodox Christianity views bad dreams and does it provide any help in dealing with them?

I'm curious because in my evening prayer canons I pray for "dreamless sleep", yet the dreams happen.

Someone told me it might have something to do with the fact that I'm a new to the church and that the converts are often be haunted by doubts, despair (unynije), passions, overzealousness, etc. And that evil attacks us when we sleep for certain purposes:
- to discourage us from confession (by showing us things we would be embarassed to confess)
- to revive old habbits/sins
- to stop men (and this is interesting) from receiving Communion the following day by inducing nocturnal emissions (someone might have been preparing and fasting, hoping to receive the Mysteries the following day and then - bam - no way Jose...)
- to make people believe in dreams, by showing them "future events" (usually what they are afraid of)
- to lead people into "prelest" or spiritual delusion

It is said that those converts who had a wise and strict confessor, who changed their life by giving up habits and sins (e.g. stopped binge eating, drinking, watching porn, engaging into any extramarital sexual activity) will experience such dreams more often.

Is there a prayer that can help in situations like these?

I know it is a silly questions - but why sometimes the prayers do not work?


Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2019, 05:07:50 PM »
These are not silly questions and I have experienced this as well.  The demons are fierce both while approaching as well as after entering Orthodoxy.  The only defense is to either rebuke them or ignore them and to run to Christ, to the Our Lady, to your Guardian Angel.  Pray that God will grant you the gift of true repentance, because repentant, contrite prayer is the only true prayer a sinner can offer God, and is the one He is most likely to hear..

God doesn't always answer prayers right away, especially if our prayer is infected by self-interest or presumption.  If we are not answered, it means we have not asked with sufficient fervency, humility, repentance, tears.  God answers the prayers of a contrite and humble heart.
"When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly… The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything is cured. Everything works properly."

~ St. Porphyrios


"The Church is indeed 'Apostolic'.  But the Church is also 'Patristic'.  And only by being 'Patristic' is the Church continuously 'Apostolic'."

~ Fr. Georges Florovsky

Online isxodnik

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2019, 07:45:05 PM »
It is said that in Moscow hens milk, and cows are carrying eggs ))
Sleep is a natural part of human life. When you wish to be rid of dreams by prayer, you desire the supernatural. But are you a miracle worker?
Of course, God can help (and make you a miracle worker). But for what reasons do you want to get rid of bad dreams? Satisfy God, or feel good? There is no commandment "do not see bad dreams", but there is "blessed are the poor in spirit", for example. The greater the self/ego, the farther the help of God. Our infirmities humble us, and humility attracts grace.
That's one. Second, they can't work, prayers are just text. "Works" God, and the way He wants.
And maybe пох.

Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2019, 07:57:52 PM »
It is said that in Moscow hens milk, and cows are carrying eggs ))
Sleep is a natural part of human life. When you wish to be rid of dreams by prayer, you desire the supernatural. But are you a miracle worker?
Of course, God can help (and make you a miracle worker). But for what reasons do you want to get rid of bad dreams? Satisfy God, or feel good? There is no commandment "do not see bad dreams", but there is "blessed are the poor in spirit", for example. The greater the self/ego, the farther the help of God. Our infirmities humble us, and humility attracts grace.
That's one. Second, they can't work, prayers are just text. "Works" God, and the way He wants.

Good post.  Yes, the prayers aren't magic words or formula.  They are simply words written from a saint that are meant to help stir the heart to humility and contrition.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 07:58:35 PM by PorphyriosK »
"When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly… The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything is cured. Everything works properly."

~ St. Porphyrios


"The Church is indeed 'Apostolic'.  But the Church is also 'Patristic'.  And only by being 'Patristic' is the Church continuously 'Apostolic'."

~ Fr. Georges Florovsky

Offline Luke

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2019, 08:06:11 PM »
Sometimes dreams are a reflection of what is going on in people's lives.

Offline noahzarc1

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2019, 08:12:16 PM »
I asked a priest about this once, particularly after a series of dreams that I was afraid had demonic warnings or influence attached to them. After explaining to him my thoughts, if I remember correctly he stated the fathers of the church were silent about the topic. We still had a time of prayer after, but honestly after that conversation, my dreams have not been an issue for me. However, I often recite Proverbs 3:24 on the promise that when I lie down my sleep will be sweet.

Dreams are such a fascinating topic.
"While we fight about words, take advantage of ambiguities, criticize authors, fight on party questions, have difficulty in agreeing, and prepare to anathematize each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ." - Hilary of Poitiers (367)

Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2019, 08:22:34 PM »
I asked a priest about this once, particularly after a series of dreams that I was afraid had demonic warnings or influence attached to them. After explaining to him my thoughts, if I remember correctly he stated the fathers of the church were silent about the topic. We still had a time of prayer after, but honestly after that conversation, my dreams have not been an issue for me. However, I often recite Proverbs 3:24 on the promise that when I lie down my sleep will be sweet.

Dreams are such a fascinating topic.

While dreams can definitely be fascinating, many fathers and elders warn against giving them attention, stating they are something best ignored. 
"When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly… The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything is cured. Everything works properly."

~ St. Porphyrios


"The Church is indeed 'Apostolic'.  But the Church is also 'Patristic'.  And only by being 'Patristic' is the Church continuously 'Apostolic'."

~ Fr. Georges Florovsky

Offline Ainnir

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2019, 09:28:06 PM »
Sometimes dreams are a reflection of what is going on in people's lives.
True.  Or on people's minds...but not always. 

I agree that they're best ignored.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

Pray for me, a sinner.

Offline Zephyr7

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2019, 02:07:21 AM »
That's the thing - when you watch car racing and then dream of ferrari, I guess it's normal.

But somehow I think that the dreams we're talking about are different, unrelated to what we did the following day or evening.

In my case, I saw an event from the future - It was so real and scary as sh... the other time, the dream was "of different nature" (you know what I mean by that), I remember that when I finished talking to my Confessor I was red like a brick.

so, assuming we're not nuts or loonies (or perverts), living relatively normal life - then such dreams are somehow not normal.

« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 02:07:49 AM by Zephyr7 »

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2019, 03:57:44 AM »
I in dream often fly, very easily and naturally. Fighting bandits and undead, running away from the police... Many all. If dreams could be recorded, I would bankrupt Hollywood. Moreover, once I met a real soul mate, with whom we had a complete understanding and lack of selfishness! Nothing like this happens in real life. So don't pay any attention. The first thing they teach in female monastery - the dreams do not remember, not tell, does not unravel/solving.
And maybe пох.

Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2019, 08:57:23 AM »
That's the thing - when you watch car racing and then dream of ferrari, I guess it's normal.

But somehow I think that the dreams we're talking about are different, unrelated to what we did the following day or evening.

In my case, I saw an event from the future - It was so real and scary as sh... the other time, the dream was "of different nature" (you know what I mean by that), I remember that when I finished talking to my Confessor I was red like a brick.

so, assuming we're not nuts or loonies (or perverts), living relatively normal life - then such dreams are somehow not normal.

Where did you get the idea that we need to confess the details of our dreams to our priest?  Sins are things we choose to do, sinful thoughts we choose to entertain.  These are things involving our will.  Dreams we have no control over.  How can they be sins?
"When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly… The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything is cured. Everything works properly."

~ St. Porphyrios


"The Church is indeed 'Apostolic'.  But the Church is also 'Patristic'.  And only by being 'Patristic' is the Church continuously 'Apostolic'."

~ Fr. Georges Florovsky

Offline Zephyr7

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2019, 09:04:21 AM »
The thing is, unlike in RC, you confess voluntary and involuntary sins - and in our dreams sometimes it seems like we have free will and do what we like - it's not like a movie, we are doing something in our dreams.

I'm not talking about providing all the details - but somehow saying "I got a bad dream" is not enough. As far as I know. I might be wrong :)

Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2019, 09:13:33 AM »
The thing is, unlike in RC, you confess voluntary and involuntary sins - and in our dreams sometimes it seems like we have free will and do what we like - it's not like a movie, we are doing something in our dreams.

I'm not talking about providing all the details - but somehow saying "I got a bad dream" is not enough. As far as I know. I might be wrong :)

Right, I understand involuntary sins.  But I would probably just say something like "I had a lustful, impure dream that greatly wounded me" rather than going into any specific visual details.  I've read in the fathers that recalling sins in too much detail causes us additional spiritual harm.  We should just repent, confess them with simplicity and humility, and then move on.
"When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly… The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything is cured. Everything works properly."

~ St. Porphyrios


"The Church is indeed 'Apostolic'.  But the Church is also 'Patristic'.  And only by being 'Patristic' is the Church continuously 'Apostolic'."

~ Fr. Georges Florovsky

Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2019, 09:18:36 AM »
Sorry I shouldn't even be attempting to give spiritual advice.  It just got me thinking about my own experience, but it's obviously between you, God, and your spiritual father.

When I was Roman Catholic I suffered a lot from scrupulosity regarding confession, etc.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 09:20:36 AM by PorphyriosK »
"When you don’t live with Christ, you live in melancholy, in sorrow, in anxiety and in worry. You don’t live properly… The best medicine is to devote yourself to the worship of Christ. Everything is cured. Everything works properly."

~ St. Porphyrios


"The Church is indeed 'Apostolic'.  But the Church is also 'Patristic'.  And only by being 'Patristic' is the Church continuously 'Apostolic'."

~ Fr. Georges Florovsky

Offline Arachne

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2019, 09:33:31 AM »
Your sleep is never dreamless. You dream several times a night, every time you reach the deep sleep stage of your rest cycle, and even if it were possible to suppress them, that would be disastrous for your health. Dreams are one way the brain processes the input it is given during waking hours - not necessarily the previous day's waking hours, either.

Most of your dreams you never remember, and most of those you do, start growing fuzzy immediately and disperse within minutes. You need to wake up mid-dream to have a chance to remember it (which is why we can't ever see the end of a dream; if we do, we promptly forget it).

Specific recurrent dreams are signs of something the brain is struggling with, usually stuff that causes you stress. A psychologist can help identifying those and resolving them. The rest of the daftness is just that - your brain processing stuff, without waking logic getting in the way. Let it go.
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

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Offline WPM

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Re: why evening prayers for dreamless sleep don't work
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2019, 12:47:05 PM »
Sometimes dreams are a reflection of what is going on in people's lives.

You can understand ALOT if you practice in dreams.