There are two clear concepts which developed into 4th edition rituals.  First, the idea of the quest spell in the Tome of Magic, as well as Psionic Enchantments (Dragon Magic) in the second edition Dark Sun book, Dragon Kings, are ritual-like though only for high-level characters. This idea is revisited in a few other places, such as the Second Edition Arcane Age book Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. The third edition book Unearthed Arcana presents invocations, which are a predecessor of 4th edition rituals. These invocations are not restricted to high-level casters, but still remain potent spells that further the story.