There is a ritual that is a physical act, like offering up a sacrifice, and there is a ritual that is work done in the heart.
The fundamental meaning of all ritual, however, is sacramental, that is, it is not connected with anything that one personally wants to say.
It has a formal structure, although one may add supplements for personal needs.
A person prays, not because he has anything particular to say to God at that moment but because he has to do God's work in the world, and prayer as worship is an integral part of the ritual.
Prayer is thus the inner ceremony parallel to the outer ceremony of sacrifice.
Rather than in the Temple, the ritual is performed today in the heart.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From In the Beginning by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz