My knee jerk answer to the ritual question is “no”. Rituals feel constructive to me, empty & sometimes counterproductive. In all fairness, I wasn’t raised with many rituals & my personality probably bends toward things non-ritualistic, at least in theory.
But if I look at my daily prayer time, I’m very ritualized. My ritual is to stumble out of bed, pull on a sweatshirt without tripping down the stairs, drink two vitamin drinks, boil water for my coffee, go to the bathroom, make coffee, sit on my couch, get cozy with my respective blankets, set my Bibles by my side & commence with my reading & prayer time, hopefully rich, intimate & deep.
If I frame rituals from the purpose of creating a structure for desired goals (intimate relationship with God, quiet reflection, listening, discipline, etc), then I’m totally on board with such rituals. But if my rituals are merely a form for me to go through the motions without being wholly present, then the rituals can become empty shackles, hallow & even hypocritical.
Substance without form is often unproductive. But form without substance is a vacuous mirage. And religion with rituals is no substitute for a deeply intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit 🙂