When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He took the time to teach them how to worship Him. The tabernacle and the method of worship all pointed to Him and to the deliverance He provided not only from Egypt, but to the deliverance from sin and death Christ would provide when He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again.
The Israelites were to burn incense, which represented their prayers. God provided them with manna and meat when they were in the wilderness, and we receive the spiritual food from God as well when we meet with Him, reading His Word and praying. God met with Moses on Mount Sinai to give the Israelites the law (the Ten Commandments) and God's plan.
Imagine God, thrilled to bring His people out of the bondage of Egypt, looking forward with great expectation the life He would have with them in the Promised Land. He wanted a relationship with them: a close, intimate, passionate relationship. And He wanted them to know how to have that relationship, through faith and through the right worship of Him.
But they needed to give God their hearts. And they didn't.
For about 1500 years God dealt with them, sending them messengers (prophets) and calling for them to make a complete surrender to Him. Sometimes they did become faithful, but more often than not, they turned from Him to worship other gods. And sometimes, even when they followed the 'rituals' of worship set out in the ceremonial law, their hearts were not in it.
God sent the prophet Amos (and others) to warn them and tell them that their sacrifices (worship) did not please Him, because they were not walking in obedience to Him. Amos exposed their complacency, idolatry, and oppression of the poor.
Their morning sacrifices did not honor God, and for that, the LORD mocked them and judged them. hmm.
We may well do our devotions in the morning, but if our time is done in ritual and insincerity, we are no better than the Israelites at that time.
We may go to church and sing the songs, but if our minds are on things other than God, we're not better than the Israelites.
We may routinely pray and go to our prayer groups, but if we are not honest with God, if we do not fully open our hearts to Him, our words are meaningless chatter.
But all praise and glory be to God for He knows our weakness. He patiently draws us to Him. He'll put things in our path, He'll speak to us through His Word (whether spoken from the pulpit or read from your Bible) and cause us to focus on Him again: in the evening, morning, and at noon.
Do you correct your wayward thoughts when you are reading God's Word? Do you refocus your mind when it wanders during worship service? How well do you communicate with God when you're praying with others?
For further study read: Luke 22:39-46; Acts 12:1-16.
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Romans 8:26