I've had multiple dreams about Satan trying to strangle me and smother me with his body. These dreams are very vivid and scary. Once after having one of these dreams, I woke up and saw something black in front of me. Of course it could be my imagination and a lot of other things. I also have been having a lot of dreams about snakes which also cause me fear. I'm wondering if this could be the devil trying to scare me or intimidate me as a Christian and if this is the case, what can I do about it?
Dreams tend to be the mind working out in our sleep the worries and fears that we can’t handle in the daytime. They are the body’s way of reducing our stress. When stress gets too great, or certain worries become too strong, the dreams sometimes turn into stressors themselves. That, of course, is the layman’s version of the psychology of what you are experiencing.
Could Satan be sending you dreams to intimidate you as a Christian? I don’t know. There is no evidence in the scriptures that he can do so. There was a time when God communicated through dreams, but I believe even that time is past. Nothing, though, points to Satan’s ability, or lack thereof, to send dreams. If he communicated through dreams, it is unlikely that he would do so through the dreams you describe. Satan’s method of attack on Christians seems to be more in the way of temptation than terror. After all, causing someone to be terrified of him would be counterproductive. He wants you to turn away from God rather than away from him.
On the extremely small chance that these might be dreams sent by Satan, or even the better chance that they are a reflection of stress and fears in your waking hours, what can you do about them? I think there are a couple of biblical answers.
If the dreams themselves are from Satan, or are a result of his tempting you outside the dreams, the solution James gives is most effective. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:7-8) When these dreams come, instead of giving in to them turn to God in prayer. Approach God and ask him to help you deal with the dreams. The slogan, “Just say no,” applies here as much as it does to drugs. Say no to Satan and he will run away.
If the dreams are a result of stress in your life, there is a solution as well. Trust God. If you are God’s child, he will protect you. So what do you need to worry about? After all, this life compared to eternity is less than a period at the end of a sentence in “War and Peace.” If you can give up worry, your dreams might also be more peaceful. “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:31-34) Again, prayer may help. Instead of just praying when the dreams come, though, try to avoid them altogether. Pray before you sleep that God will take away your worries. If you know what your stressors are, mention them specifically. Then believe that God will keep you safe. Too often we give God our problems in prayer, and take them back as soon as we end it. Let God keep them instead.
I can’t guarantee that these strategies will eliminate the dreams. I do think that they will at least lessen the effect these dreams will have on you.