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This is a simple question, but still a struggle: how to develop the habit of prayer and, most important, how to like it? There was a time I used to say both shacharis and mincha prayers, sometimes arvit - I'm a woman btw - but nowadays it seems so difficult! Any tips on what to do?

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Consider taking the following short tour of the site to learn more. Hope you choose to stick around the site. Hatzlacha rabba with your prayers! – mevaqesh Nov 5 '15 at 2:11
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    I couldn't answer to this question because I was raised with the "prayer habit". But I want to forewarn you about excess in the other direction. Habits often end up running on auto-pilot. You don't want to get so habituated at prayer that your mouth is doing it regularly while your mind goes off on its own journey... Trust me, /that/ habit has proven VERY hard to break. – Micha Berger Nov 5 '15 at 11:00
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I had a similar problem; when I started taking Judaism seriously I tried to do everything. And I wasn't ready, so I stumbled through prayers I didn't comprehend, that took me forever because I was learning the language, and it was frustrating. My rabbi advised me to back off; doing less, but doing it consistently, was more important than doing everything, getting frustrated, and then not doing it because of that. I did that, and over time my ability increased.

As women we have fewer prayer obligations than men. Use that. Start with the subset that is obligatory and try to form a habit with that. You can expand later.

It sounds like you are praying on your own rather than in a minyan. It's important to make a fixed time for your prayer; if you say "I'll do it later, after I do this other thing", time can get away from you and then you won't have done it at all. Somewhere in Tractate B'rachot the g'mara says that if you're not praying with the community (minyan) you should nonetheless pray at the same time as the community service. If that time works for you, do that -- both for the reasons in the g'mara and to force a fixed time. In addition, as DoubleAA notes in a comment, if you pay careful attention to the rules about not eating/working before praying, that can serve as both a reminder and an incentive. (For halacha about mincha and ma'ariv, see ShA OC 232 and 235. This answer cites Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Ch 8 concerning shacharit.)

90% of prayer is consistent repetition. It's hard to jump into and you probably won't like it for a while, but if you keep at it prayer will get easier and you should feel more from it.

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    Paying careful attention to rules about eating/working before praying can be helpful (ex. commit to no breakfast before Shacharit). It serves as both a reminder and an incentive. – Double AA Nov 5 '15 at 14:58
  • I said "eating/working before praying" not "eating/working before Shacharit" because the technique can potentially be used in different ways for all prayers. See ShA OC 232 and 235 for restrictions before Mincha and Maariv respectively. – Double AA Nov 5 '15 at 16:43
  • @DoubleAA oh, ok -- I thought that only worked for shacharit. Will fix. – Monica Cellio Nov 5 '15 at 16:45

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