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Also by Elisabeth Elliot

Through Gates of Splendor

Shadow of the Almighty

Let Me Be a Woman

Discipline: The Glad Surrender

God’s Guidance

On Asking God Why

The Shaping of a Christian Family

Keep a Quiet Heart

The Mark of a Man

Faith That Does Not Falter

Passion and Purity

Quest for Love

Be Still My Soul

The Journals of Jim Elliot

The Music of His Promises

No Graven Image

The Path of Loneliness

Secure in the Everlasting Arms

To all who loved Amma

© 1987 by Elisabeth Elliot

Published by Revell

a division of Baker Publishing Group

P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287


Paperback edition published 2005

Ebook edition created 2021

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

ISBN 978-1-4934-3445-9

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture is taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Scripture marked NEB is taken from The New English Bible. Copyright © 1961,1970 by The Delegates of Oxford University Press and The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press. Reprinted by permission.

Scripture marked PHILLIPS is taken from Th e New Testament in Modern English, revised edition J. B. Phillips, translator. © J. B. Phillips 1958, 1960, 1972. Used by permission of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.

Scripture marked TLB is taken from The Living Bible, copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture verses identified AV are from the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible.

Copyright material from Gold Cord and Toward Jerusalem by Amy Carmichael used by permission of Christian Literature Crusade, Ft. Washington, PA.

Excerpts from Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, copyright © 1975 by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. Reprinted by permission of Simon 8c Schuster, Inc.



Half Title Page

Title Page

Copyright Page




  1. Tide Pools, Pink Powder, and Prayers

  2. The Hope of Holiness

  3. Mutton Chops Don’t Matter

  4. The Tin Tabernacle

  5. The Inescapable Calling

  6. Small Shall Seem All Sacrifice

  7. The Rending

  8. The Romance of Missions

  9. The Unrepealed Commission

10. The School of Prayer

11. Japanese Head

12. Not Much of a Halo in Ceylon

13. To the India of the Raj

14. Fashionable Christianity

15. Company, Church, Crown, and Hindu

16. Straight Against the Dead Wall

17. Blissful Work

18. The Cost of Obedience

19. The Uninteresting, Unromantic Truth

20. A Small and Desolate Mite

21. Children Tie the Mother’s Feet

22. The Vault Beneath the Meadow

23. The Impress of the Signet Ring

24. Strife of Tongues

25. Place of Dragons

26. Love Is Not a Sentiment

27. The Lesson of the Weaned Child

28. Across the Will of Nature

29. Grey Jungle, Crystal Pool

30. A Life Without Fences

31. Where Are the Men?

32. Damascus Blades

33. Rendezvous With Robin Hood

34. The Sword Smites Sharp

35. The DF Is Born

36. A Secret Discipline

37. Place of Healing and House of Prayer

38. The Road Less Traveled

39. No Milk Biscuits

40. Scrub-Land

41. The Toad Beneath the Harrow

42. The Servant as Writer

43. Saint, Fishwife, Vegetable Marrow

44. Broken by the Waves

45. I Hold Me Fast by Thee

46. The Voice From the Sanctum

47. The Razor Edge

48. Maintain a Constant Victory

49. The River Breaks Out

50. Fettered and Yet Free

51. One Thing Have I Desired


The Dohnavur Fellowship

About the author

Back Cover


The Carmichael house in Millisle

Amy, about five, with mother, Eva, Norman, and Ernest

Flyleaf of Amy’s Bible

Amy at Broughton Grange, about twenty-four

Portion of a letter from Japan written on rice paper

Misaki San and Amy

The Band and the bandy

Camp scene with the Walkers

Amy, age forty-two, with Lola and Leela

The Cottage Nursery

Scenery near the compound

Amy with Lullitha, one of her “Lotus Buds”

Ponnammal, with Preetha and Tara.

At Madras Beach

Amy, at fifty-seven, in 1925

The House of Prayer

The Room of Peace

Bird table marking Amy’s grave


Members of the large Dohnavur Family in India, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have made it possible for me to write this book. They “don’t go in much for credit lines,” they told me, so I do not give their names. I have tried in personal letters to tell them how grateful I am. I say it again here—thank you, from my heart, for:

Your prayers, first of all. I have been upheld.

Your hospitality;

Your generous sharing of all extant data, including your own private correspondence from Amy Carmichael.

Your time—for patient answering of sometimes rude questions, both in interviews and by letter; for your willingness to read the manuscript, make corrections, offer suggestions. Some of your suggestions I have not followed. You bear no responsibility for the final result.

A special thank you to Dr. Eric Frykenberg of the University of Wisconsin for information on the early history of Christianity in South India for chapters 14 and 20.

Be earnest, earnest, earnest—

Mad if thou wilt;

Do what thou dost as if the

stake were Heaven,

And that thy last deed before

the Judgment Day.

Charles Kingsley

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” How often I think of that ought. No sugary sentiment there. Just the stern, glorious trumpet call, OUGHT. But can words tell the joy buried deep within? Mine cannot. It laughs at words.

Amy Carmichael, letter written in the Old Forest House, 1922

Every day we experience something of the death of Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours.

2 Corinthians 4:10 (PHILLIPS)


To Amy Carmichael I owe what C. S. Lewis said he owed to George MacDonald: as great a debt as one can owe another.

I cannot pay it. But it is my hope that this biography will introduce its subject to a generation which has not had the privilege that was mine. I “met” her when I was fourteen. Mrs. P. W. DuBose, headmistress of a small boarding school in Florida, used to quote often in school vespers from Carmichael books. I was captivated, and told her so. She lent me the

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