My commute to work is long but easy. For over an hour, I sit on a comfortable bus with about fifty other people, all of whom are sleeping, reading newspapers or books, or playing with various MP3 players, iPods, iPhones and BlackBerries.
On one of my first days commuting, I observed a man across the aisle whom I recognized as a Sikh by his distinctive turban. He was reading from a small, ornately designed book with script that looked beautiful, but was unintelligible to me. It was easy to tell, though, that he was praying. I thought that looked like a good idea. I had a prayerbook in my briefcase, too, just about the size of his. I took it out and said my morning prayers. I imagine that the script in my prayerbook was just as unintelligible to him as his was to me.
I've been riding that bus for three months now, and I don't pray every morning (my Sikh neighbor does) but this morning, I did take out my prayerbook. When we got to the park-and-ride where the bus fills up, a woman sat in the seat beside me. After a few minutes, she took a small book out of her briefcase and started reading. The words in her little book were also in a script that I could not comprehend. We prayed silently beside one another for a while, then she put her little book away and took out a novel, and I put my little book away and took out my iPod. I've never sat beside her before, so I don't know if she prays regularly, or if she had been inspired by my prayerbook as I had been inspired by the Sikh one. This is a kind of interfaith prayer that I could really get to like.