Assalamualikum Wa Rahmtullahi Wa Barakatuh,
So I came across a problem on Yahoo about the issue of Salah and finding it hard to be consistent despite being God conscious and feeling guilty. Its often hard for us to advise such people as it usually quite different for each individual due to the reasons or background behind it. However when I read this problem surprisingly I had advise, recently as you know I ran out of advise but wahay looks like I am back!
It's hard, it's hard to be consistent, I know I do. When I was young I used to question Salah also, i honestly believe it requires understanding and interest. You need to be interested in understanding and taking in board what the reality is. I've learnt with my sister, I need to educate her before telling her to do something, otherwise it's meaningless for her, maybe not for me, but who am I helping in that situation?
So anyway that being said, I'd like to introduce my first tip. NOTE: I do not advise listening to YouTube videos this only creates a Emaan Boost/hype and is not sustainable, you yourself need to understand it you need to love it yourself like an academic subject you learn and properly apply it, you also need to do this with Islam, it's not something you stare at on a screen. I also do not advise you to rush into any of these steps, take your time and slowly apply, do not rush yourself.
DISCLAIMER: These steps may be easier to achieve for someone who's just beginning to practise but someone who's already practising but has taken a dip may find it harder. In this case all these steps should be taken but first ones mentality needs to be revisited too. This means addressing the causes of this state, what led you to stop praying (a problem in your life, depression...etc) fix that problem with the relevant islamic solution. Then do these steps.
1)You must be willing to put every effort into trying your best. You must try everything you can. Do you want to change? You may not see the effect straight away but you need to bear patience if you are sincere and trying inshaAllah everything will work out.
"When my servant takes one step towards Me, I take ten steps towards him. When my servant comes walking towards me, I come running towards him.” Hadith Qudsi
If we look at this quote we can see that with every effort and struggle we are becoming closer to God, we may not be able to see it, but Allah knows, and He will help us, but first we must bear patience. You must be consistent do not give up, it's essential you do not lose motivation.
1.2) Make a intention and dua to Allah (SWT) to help you achieve your goal. Make dua and intention every day (more if you can) so as to remind yourself of your purpose and to motivate yourself.
1.3) Understand you may fall but you have to keep trying, just keep going, don't worry about the obstacles you can overcome it!
2) You must revisit your understand of salah and it's importance. Somewhere there has been a doubt in your mind or you have not understood it properly. Look at the factual evidences (this will help to reassure your practicality I.e It is a commandment of God and there is no doubt) but also read about the benefits of salah (for your spirituality and well being)
2.1) You should understand Khushoo in salah (not levels of prayer this is not applicable now) what I mean is finding peace and comfort in conversing with God. It is essential you enjoy prayer and take time in prayer. Force yourself if you have to, the fact is you are trying which will inshaAllah be acknowledged by Allah (SWT).
I will post a superb article on this from kallahmullah but I will also mention some points of mine.
Be slow, and steady. Rhytmnic.
Repeat the meaning to yourself after the Arabic verse in your head.
In Sujood make your sincere duas, and just think of Allah. Think.
Any thoughts that enter your head just let them go. Let it go.
3) This is very important. Do not give yourself free time. This does not mean never relaxing, relaxing is fine, but do not allow yourself to be idle. Fill your time with good deeds. This does not always have to be reading Quran or praying it can even be helping your parents or playing with your siblings.
4) (This is optional I only suggest this because it will benefit you long term but also helps in your salah) Refrain from watching TV, allow yourself to become preoccupied with the daily tasks that are more beneficial. TV can often get us wrapped up in silly things like Tv programmes. Also there is also of fitnah on TV.
5) Read the Quran whenever you can and look at it's meanings , this is to help you in your everyday life. Prayer, although it is spread out during our day, Islam is not something which we pick up and put away, it's a part of our lives always therefore we must be interested in incorporating in our lives.
6) Try visiting a graveyard, a muslim one of course, and this will bear a reminder of our short time in this Dunya. Just make it regular thing, inshaAllah. The reason I advise this is so you feel scared of death that will make you more conscious of pleasing God and help you in prayer.
7) Make learning about Islam a part of your life alongside your academic/ secular studies. If you do not have any source of islamic reminder you will obviously find it hard to remind yourself in prayer. Join a circle (they are free!) or islamic course or even do your own learning (but make it consistent every fir or something)
8) Enter this Ajr Race, haven't you heard? There's a Ajr Race (Ajr meaning rewards) To try your best to get those delicious rewards (Ajr reminds me of Gajar Ka Halwar so that's why I said delicious) first one there wins...Jannah inshaAllah! (With the rest of us who get there too inshaAllah) Honestly it's so much fun seeing it as a race. Try it!
9) Talk to Allah more. If you feel close to God you will naturally want to converse with Him in prayer. Talk about your worries or thank Him whatever you will!
That's all for now, Waslaam.
BTW I'm still reading islamic system by taqiuddin which might take longer to review, but instead of that I might just post what I learn along the way, p.s I got an economics book which I will be discussing soon aswell inshaAllah! AND I have another post coming up about gaining closeness to Allah so keep tuned!! I might do a video on either of those maybe send me a comment about which, please?