Are You Shovelling Coal or Stones?

Occasionally I have some very vivid dreams. More often than not they are forgotten within seconds of waking up, but every now and again I have a dream that persists and which I know that God is speaking through.

In one such dream, I was leaning out of the window of a long steam-hauled passenger train, as it was going round a bend in the track. I could see the engine and the front coaches of the train in the distance. Suddenly, the link between the first three coaches and the rest of the train came adrift. I watched as the engine with its three coaches disappeared into the distance, while the rest of the train that I was on slowly free wheeled to a halt.

It seemed that I was the only person fully aware of the problem. Eventually a small shunting engine came reversing down the track to connect with and retrieve the rest of the train. The shunter was accompanied by a tender full of best quality coal. And in the dream it became my job to keep shovelling the coal into the fire box of the engine, so that this small engine could get up enough steam to pull a long heavy train.

I was doing a good job and was pleased with the work I was doing. Then I noticed that as the coal began to be used up, amazingly, someone was pouring bags of fresh coal into the tender so that there was always a good supply.

But then I also noticed something else. There were some sacks of what I thought to be coal being poured into the coal-tender from another direction. And as I bent to shovel this fresh coal into the fire I was suddenly aware that these sacks did not contain best quality coal at all, but pebbles of stone, which were now mixed with the best quality coal still being poured in from the other side.

I now had a huge problem. If I continued to shovel the coal mixed with stone into the firebox of the engine the coal would burn, but the stones would be left behind. And before very long the fire box would be clogged with stone, the engine would not be able to produce any steam and the whole train would grind to a halt.

I soon saw that before I could shovel more coal into the firebox, therefore, I had to pick out the lumps of stone and separate them from the coal. But this was taking such a long time that the fire in the firebox began to burn low for lack of coal.

So, if I shovelled in the mix of coal and stone it would clog the firebox. And if I took the time to separate out all the stone from the coal, I wouldn’t be getting enough coal into the firebox to keep the engine going. Either way, whoever it was that was pouring sacks of stones into the coal tender was winning the battle.

It didn’t take me long to realise that there was only one way to win the battle – and that was to stop whoever it was that was pouring bags of stones into the coal-tender.

And then God spoke to me:

“The sacks of best-quality coal are being poured into the tender by My angels so that you will always have enough fuel to keep your life on track. When My enemy realises that you are determined to press on with your calling, he knows that he cannot stop My angels from pouring in the coal. So, in order to slow your progress, he looks for every possible opening there may be in your spiritual defences into which his ‘angels’ may pour sacks of stones.

If you do nothing about it the fire-box of your spiritual life will soon go out – clogged with ‘stones’. And if you start tackling the problem, the time you have to spend in clearing the stones out of the coal tender will also limit your potential in the Kingdom of God. Either way, eventually, your train will run out of steam and be going nowhere. Sadly, My church is full of trains going nowhere.

I am now urging My people to ask Me to show them where the holes are in their defences, through which My enemy can pour in stones, and to close them off by being willing to deal with the issues through repentance, healing and deliverance. Only then will their lives get back fully on track and they will be able to generate enough steam to pull the train of their life in the manner and direction that I intended.”

I woke up knowing it was time to go to prayer.




  1. Thank you for sharing this – it was as if it were written for me! As a visual learner and Artist, it has enabled me to sketch out my thinking and begin to tackle some wearisome footholds! Hugely helpful & I am deeply grateful. KG

  2. Thank-you so much. I was feeling heavy in my spirit and a bit overwhelmed actually and had just heard in my own heart perhaps an hour before reading your blog, something along similiar lines ..yet without a great deal of clarity.. to what you have conveyed. It is exciting to have such an insightful confirmation. Your understanding has provided me with a really valuable opportunity to address and overcome this dilemma. I give thanks to God for his real help and amazing timing. 2 Timothy 4:18 came to mind. God bless you.

  3. Awesome revlalation, I ask God to bless you and the ministry praying,for courage and strength to keep moving forward for His kingdom work. Shalom Esther Esther

  4. What an amazing dream! and so descriptive!
    It spoke directly to me, as of late I have been feeling out of ‘puff’, with hindrances taking the best out of me. But more determined not to give up, I have cried to God to please explain what is going on! To give me understanding!

    Then He gives you the dream??. It has been delivered at the precise moment for me, and it has clarified so much!
    Indeed God our father listen!! In the name of Jesus!

    Thank you for sharing.
    Please keep well in the Lord,

    Olga Djuric

  5. Dear Peter
    That dream interpretation speaks to me at this time . There are things that occupy my time that get in the way of my calling . I need to make a huge decision on whether to retire at this time from my secular paid employment and emmerse myself in Kingdom work fully .
    If you have a mind to pray for me , please do and Thank you
    Les , Drogheda , Ireland

  6. I loved this! Very helpful! I see immediately where my defences are fragile and stones have been clogging up my desire to move fwd with my life!
    Thank you!

  7. Thank you for this message about shovelling coal or stones. It seems to be a theme I have been hearing much lately and I know it is because I feel that I am constantly being thrown with obstacles while I try and make my way to God’s plan. I know the evil behind it but it stays a tough walk. I keep praying that God will help me keep my focus on Him and help me through the obstacles and brake my chains that the enemy has me in.

  8. This really spoke to me, Peter, thank you for your faithfulness in sharing….we must find out where the enemy’s angels are coming from…as they certainly wont be in sight….we must go out of our way to discover where they are hiding……we must be proactive…passivity is of no use in this situation!!

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