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When I was a child, I had heard a hadith the meaning of which was as follows:

Prayers keeps one away from sinning. If a muslim performs his prayers but will not stop committing sins or habitual sins. Then his prayers had no effect and will not be accepted.

I am not sure if this hadith even exists in the books. I searched to find it but failed. I am believing to conclude that this hadith may not exist. Still if someone knows about any reference, I would really appreciate to know.

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The hadith you are asking about is most likely the one in Tafsīr Ibn Abi Hātim (note that this hadith was also mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his tafsīr, and Al-Kermani in Al-Kawākib Ad-Darāri):

زياد عمر بن أبي عثمان، ثنا الحسن، عن عمران بن حصين قال: سئل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، عن قول الله: إن الصلاة تنهى، عن الفحشاء والمنكر قال: من لم تنهه صلاته، عن الفحشاء والمنكر فلا صلاة له.

NOTE. My own translation, so treat with care.

Narrated through 'Umar ibn Abi 'Uthman through Al-Hassan through 'Imrān ibn Hussayn, he said: The Prophet ﷺ was asked about "Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds" (29:45), he said: "Whoever his prayer does not restrain him from shameful and unjust deeds, it is as if he had not prayed."

— Tafsīr Ibn Abi Hātim, pp. 3066 (Arabic only)

Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani said that this hadith has two issues in its narration chain that deems its grade da'īf (weak). The first issue is that 'Umar ibn Abi 'Uthman is unknown, with very few who narrated through him (Ibn Abi Hātim and Yahya ibn Sa'īd). The second issue is that 'Imrān ibn Hussayn was not one of the teachers of Al-Hassan [Al-Basri], hence there is a severance in the chain of the narration. See Silisilat al-Ahādīth ad-Da'īfa 2/414 (Arabic only).

When Al-Albani was asked verbally about this hadith, and another variation that says "whoever his prayer does not restrain him from shameful and unjust deeds, it only distances him more from Allah", he responded that — in addition to the severed chain of narration — he did not know where such hadiths come from, and that they deter people from praying (a person may decide not to pray based on this hadith).

Finally, this hadith is referenced in some other books as being attributed to 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ūd, with trusted names in the chain of narration, but with no attribution to the Prophet ﷺ as well as concerns of the continuity of the chain of narration still. The hadith has part of its meaning in another hadith that is attributed to the Prophet ﷺ, which says:

عن أبي هريرة، قال: جاء رجل إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إن فلانا يصلي بالليل فإذا أصبح سرق قال: إنه سينهاه ما تقول

NOTE. My own translation, so treat with care.

Narrated by Abu Huraira: A man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: "So-and-So person prays all night, then in the morning he steals." The Prophet ﷺ said: "What you say he does [i.e., praying] will restrain him [from stealing]."

— Musnad Ahmad, Hadith 9778

This last hadith, however, did not mention that the person's prayer would not count.

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Not performing Salat (prayer) is one of the most serious sins. I mean someone who commits sins must not believe that he must stop praying until he stops committing sins, the situation will just be worser.

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