There are two versions of this question. One is often asked in academic or ‘official’ settings, the other is ‘can we pray together’. This second question arises where Christians and Muslims meet together. Indeed it was asked at the first leaders event that the Christian Muslim Forum organised. We included Christian and Muslim prayers separately on the programme (something we still do). But even when we pray together, we tend to ‘do’ our own prayers. So what of praying together?
When people ask the question I don’t think they mean “Can we share in saying a prayer together” i.e. can we all say the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ together? Although the Lord’s Prayer probably works quite well for Muslims (except for the opening words, ‘Our Father’). Nor are people saying “Can Christians join in the salah?” (Muslim congregational prayer). They want to know if we can sit, or stand, together and pray as a community of the faithful. What could be better or more normal for people of prayer?
Unless we have an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response we should admit that we’re not ready for this question. One approach might be to ask whether we are worshipping the ‘same God’ – which is probably another discussion. I personally find that an odd question, with its potential associations of strange and other ‘gods’.